False Information to a Pawn Broker

An allegation of giving false information to a pawnbroker during a pawn transaction is not only a felony, but it is also an allegation of a crime of dishonesty that can have both dire direct consequences and collateral consequences. Not only can an individual charged with false information to a pawnbroker ultimately serve jail or prison time, if convicted of this offense one faces the stigma of being convicted of a theft related offense. If you are facing an allegation of this kind, you have very likely been accused of attempting to pawn or sell property you do not legally own and subsequently signed a form stating that you own it, or by attempting to pawn or sell property you may actually own but have presented false identification in order to complete the transaction. An allegation under either theory is a felony punishable based upon the value of the money received in exchange for the item and if the good pawned or sold was indeed stolen, you may face an additional charge of dealing in stolen property.


Florida jury instruction 14.7 details the elements to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for one to be convicted of false information to a pawnbroker under Florida Statute 539.001. All elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and your Tampa criminal attorney may be able to attack a specific element to your benefit. The State must prove that:

  1. Defendant sold or pledged goods and/or the property alleged to a pawnbroker.
  2. At the time, Defendant knowingly gave false verification of ownership of the goods and/or property alleged OR false or altered identification to the pawnbroker.
  3. Defendant received money from the pawnbroker for the goods and/or property alleged sold or pledged.

This charge is a third degree felony if the money received is less than $300. If the money received is $300 or more the penalty is enhanced and the crime increases from a third degree felony to a second-degree felony.


Depending on the strength of the State’s case, you may have a full defense aiming for complete exoneration. If you are accused of this crime after pawning or selling property that you did not know was stolen, your criminal attorney can attack the second element in the jury instruction in that you did not knowingly give false verification of ownership. In Wiley v. State, 830 So.2d 889 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002) a jury instruction issued that failed to include the essential element that false verification of ownership be given knowingly was plain error that required the conviction to be reversed. If the facts of your case are not as suitable for trial there may still be options and defenses available to avoid formal conviction and to mitigate the possible damage.


Tampa criminal attorney Jason Mayberry is an experienced criminal lawyer ready to help with your legal needs. False information to a pawnbroker allegations are serious matters with harsh penalties. If you have been accused of this crime, contact us today at 813-444-7435 or at 727-771-3847.