Clear the Air

Penetrate the confusion,
relieve the burden,
and mend the loss.

We sue for fraud, which is any deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual, and engenders both civil liability and criminal punishment.

Fraud is widespread, victimizing businesses and individuals across all industries. Recent economic events have both confirmed and exposed the ubiquity of fraud throughout all aspects of financial services, consumer affairs, and commercial operations. Although scams and hoaxes for financial gain are actionable frauds, and victims of fraud have civil remedies to recuperate lost funds, few law firms maintain a practice dedicated to investigating, litigating, and remedying fraud.

Range of services

Embezzlement is the theft of money from an employer, usually through fraudulent appropriation from a person in a place of trust. Theft is the act of intentionally taking another person's property without that person's permission.

Bernhard Law Firm never underestimates or undervalues the long-term financial impact of embezzlement, theft, or misappropriation of funds. Even the smallest losses have a disconcerting effect at the end-of-year accounting period. If you are the victim of embezzlement, theft, or any improper retention or deprivation of your funds, Bernhard Law Firm works to regain those funds on your behalf. We handle cases from improper retention of security deposits to high-end and high-value corporate embezzlement. We litigate the full gamut of civil actions under the Civil Remedies for Criminal Practices Act, including fraudulent disbursement, skimming, cash larceny, fraud, theft, embezzlement, forgery, check kiting, and issuance of worthless checks from corporate sources.

Embezzlement, theft, and misappropriation of funds require immediate attention, given the high likelihood of the quick expenditure and depletion of the funds by the thief or fraudster. Because these acts often involve transfer and retention of liquid funds, investigation of embezzlement and theft requires knowledge of complex accounting documents, ledgers, bank drafts and statements, internal banking notation systems and software, and other money transfer devices. Bernhard Law Firm has significant experience in the banking industry, and thus is uniquely positioned to find the source of the embezzlement and to recapture the improperly transferred funds. We negotiate immediate return of the funds, we examine the relevant financial data, and we prepare a sound civil complaint that takes advantage of the federal and state statutory schemes designed to protect companies, investors, consumers, and the general public from embezzlement, theft, and improper retention of funds. Because we are trained and experienced in the implementation of the Florida Civil Remedies for Criminal Practices Act (also known as Florida RICO), we are able to achieve maximum return from losses, including triple damages (triple the amount lost or improperly retained) and attorney's fees.

Bernhard Law Firm represents investors in all types of investment fraud cases, including general investment fraud, unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and unlicensed brokering.

Investment fraud causes loss in value of investor stock portfolios and retirement accounts. Stockbrokers often fail to act in the investor's best interests due to conflicts of interest or sheer negligence, squandering investment capital or accrued dividends, often permanently.

State and federal laws protect investors against negligent, unsuitable, fraudulent, or illegal conduct by advisors, financial planners, stockbrokers, and others. Wronged investors have the right to seek restitution for the losses suffered, and Bernhard Law Firm can facilitate this recovery. The process of recovering your money may be extremely complex. Upon engagement, Bernhard Law Firm immediately provides a complete case review and determination of the best course of action to recover losses. We file claims with the appropriate regulatory agencies and in the appropriate courts to pursue full recovery plus interest.

Mortgage fraud is epidemic.

As the recent debt crisis has illustrated, mortgage fraud has become a rampant epidemic. Many unscrupulous companies and individuals have exploited homeowner desperation or inadequate government lending regulation, promising to save homes while charging outrageous fees and advancing foreclosure. Other lenders charge up-front fees or ambiguous advance fees during the loan repayment period, utilize high-pressure sales tactics, and automatically misapply consumer loan payments. Still others employ third party vendors for rescue and modification services, despite the vendors' lack of authority and knowledge of the borrower's account, leading to fraudulent activity. These acts and other mortgage frauds are a regular occurrence, requiring the intervention of a capable mortgage fraud attorney. If you believe that a lender or its affiliates has taken advantage of you or misrepresented the mortgage terms or the lending process, Bernhard Law Firm can assist.

We aggressively weed out mortgage fraud.

Bernhard Law Firm is committed to aggressively weeding out mortgage fraud, beginning with investigating and suing any lender, servicer, mortgage broker, appraiser, business, financial institution, or any others involved in loan transactions that deceives or defrauds a consumer in the mortgage or foreclosure process. We have vast experience in the mortgage fraud area, having litigated numerous mortgage fraud disputes in both state and federal court. Bernhard Law Firm has managed litigation involving virtually every type of entity in the mortgage lending chain; from initial funding to trustees to credit swap recipients and investors in the secondary market. Thus, we are uniquely positioned and informed to quickly root out mortgage fraud and achieve resolution for consumers, borrowers, and mortgagors.

Consumer fraud generally encompasses any unfair or deceptive tactics used to illegally lure consumers into buying something.

Consumer fraud occurs when a company or business makes knowingly false statements of fact, and a consumer suffers loss by acting (by purchase, lease, trade, of forbearance) in reliance on these false statements.

Unscrupulous businesses and corporations regularly use their position of power and the imbalance of information control to manipulate the factors that sway a consumer's decision to buy a product. These nefarious practices include misleading a consumer about the material aspects of a product, offering unbeatable deals on unavailable products as bait to push available products at higher rates, and promoting unrealistic returns on investment and maintaining illusory dividends the pyramid and Ponzi schemes. We enforce regulations upon the consumer industry and licenses professionals, conduct investigations into consumer and financial scams, and file suit against those scammers.

Bernhard Law Firm is committed to investigating and suing corrupt businesses to disgorge them of their improperly acquired funds.

We have precise methods to unearth evidence of improper practices and consumer fraud, and engage proceedings to recuperate triple damages (recovery of triple the loss) for consumer fraud. Should you suffer or witness an instance of consumer fraud or consumer misrepresentation on any level, contact Bernhard Law Firm for a consultation to determine your rights and remedies.

The primary focus of Bernhard Law Firm is to vindicate the victims of fraud.

We conduct fraud investigations and litigate fraud lawsuits to obtain financial amelioration. However, our practice extends beyond financial compensation to replace loss with wholeness, obscurity with clarity, and confusion with empowerment and stability. We represent investors and consumers across Florida, ranging from small individual investors and purchasers to sophisticated high-net-worth clients and institutions.

We have significant practice in investor and borrower litigations against financial institutions, securities issuers, underwriters, and other businesses that have committed misrepresentation or other fraudulent acts. We implement our in-depth knowledge of the financial services industry to successfully develop, present, and aggressively prosecute these cases and recover investment losses. Our size and focused practice allow us to take action quickly and be constantly available.

The pathway to fraud
resolution is through the courtroom.

We litigate fraud claims in all manifestations, from case initiation and investigation through trial and appeal. Our significant experience with sophisticated fraud schemes, our capacity in managing complex and multi-district litigation, and our ability to deploy resources effectively to address case priorities and respond to geographically shifting fraud problems all uniquely qualify us to address any fraud matter. We can handle large quantities of financial documents and business records, and we effectively utilize alternative crime enforcement remedies, including the Civil Remedies for Criminal Practices Act and criminal restitution options. Upon appeal, we develop legal policy to strengthen the rules on fraud and constrict loopholes to escape liability and conviction.

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