2010 Florida Statutes
Moneys received for real property improvements; penalty for misapplication.
Moneys received for real property improvements; penalty for misapplication.—
A person, firm, or corporation, or an agent, officer, or employee thereof, who receives any payment on account of improving real property must apply such portion of any payment to the payment of all amounts then due and owing for services and labor which were performed on, or materials which were furnished for, such improvement prior to receipt of the payment. This paragraph does not prevent any person from withholding any payment, or any part of a payment, in accordance with the terms of a contract for services, labor, or materials, or pursuant to a bona fide dispute regarding the amount due, if any, for such services, labor, or materials.
Any person who knowingly and intentionally fails to comply with paragraph (a) is guilty of misapplication of construction funds, punishable as follows:
If the amount of payments misapplied has an aggregate value of $100,000 or more, the violator is guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
If the amount of payments misapplied has an aggregate value of $1,000 or more but less than $100,000, the violator is guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
A permissive inference that a person knowingly and intentionally misapplied construction funds in violation of this subsection is created when a valid lien has been recorded against the property of an owner for labor, services, or materials; the person who ordered the labor, services, or materials has received sufficient funds to pay for such labor, services, or materials; and the person has failed, for a period of at least 45 days from receipt of the funds, to remit sufficient funds to pay for such labor, services, or materials, except for funds withheld pursuant to paragraph (a).
A state attorney or the statewide prosecutor, upon the filing of an indictment or information against a contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor which charges such person with a violation of paragraph (b), shall forward a copy of the indictment or information to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall promptly open an investigation into the matter and, if probable cause is found, shall furnish a copy of any investigative report to the state attorney or statewide prosecutor who furnished a copy of the indictment or information and to the owner of the property which is the subject of the investigation.
This section does not apply to mortgage bankers or their agents, servants, or employees for their acts in the usual course of the business of lending or disbursing mortgage funds.
s. 1, ch. 87-74; s. 7, ch. 88-397; s. 17, ch. 90-109; s. 7, ch. 2003-177; s. 12, ch. 2005-227.