New Florida law includes stricter penalties for ripping off military veterans

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A series of Florida laws passed during this year's legislative session went into effect on Thursday, one of which makes it a felony to attempt to financially swindle a veteran out of $50,000 or more.

This bill amends the White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act to say someone "commits an aggravated white-collar crime if he or she obtains or attempts to obtain $50,000 or more by committing at least two associated white-collar crimes against 10 or more veterans."

The action will now be considered a first-degree felony, "ranked at a level 9 out of 10 possible levels for incarceration purposes on the offense severity ranking chart of the Criminal Punishment Code."

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People convicted of breaking the new law would also have to pay court costs and restitution associated with each of their victims.

The court may also order payment of a $500,000 fine, or "double the value of the pecuniary gain or loss, whichever is greater."

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The bill had similar protections for senior citizens within the text, in an effort to discourage the financially fraudulent schemes often carried out against the elderly.

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