Dealing in stolen property is a serious charge in Florida. A conviction can be devastating to an individual’s reputation. The individual will have a criminal record, and if that individual is operating a business, people may choose not to deal with them. A 26-year-old man from Pembroke Pines is facing these potentially far reaching consequences now.

Fort Lauderdale Police arrested the man based on alleged tips from people in the community. Police allege that the man was knowingly dealing in stolen goods at his check cashing business on West Broward Boulevard. A SWAT team entered the business in mid-afternoon and served a search warrant. The accused and a second man were taken into custody. The second man was later released, but the Pembroke Pines man was charged with violating business record-keeping laws and dealing in stolen property.

Police claim they recovered $25,000 in cash and approximately 50 items of jewelry. Police also siezed precious gems and business records.

Defenses are available to a charge of dealing in stolen goods. The prosecution must prove every element of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the elements is that the accused must have knowingly been dealing in goods that were obtained by theft. If the accused did not know the goods were stolen, the charges must be dismissed.

If prosecutors attempt to prove knowledge through the use of informants, defense counsel can often attack the credibility of those witnesses. In many cases the informant is a person charged with a crime, who is testifying for the prosecution in exchange for a reduction in the charges or the sentence. Defense counsel can compel the witness to admit this on cross-examination, to show the jury the witness’ testimony is unreliable.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Man charged in Fort Lauderdale fencing operation,” Wayne K. Roustan, Nov. 15, 2013

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