If you have been arrested for a white-collar crime in Venice, Florida, it’s not just your freedom that is at stake. Both your personal relationships and professional reputation are also in jeopardy. White-collar crimes involve large government corporations or businesses and could potentially have a very negative impact on many areas of your life and career. Furthermore, the law in Florida takes white-collar crimes very seriously and those convicted face some very serious penalties.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a white-collar crime in Venice, FL., it is in your best interest to consult with a qualified white-collar crime attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined legal experience in defending the criminally accused. We can protect your rights and defend your future.
Call us today for a free consultation at (941) 444-4444. There is always someone available to speak to because our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Is the Definition of a White-Collar Crime?
White-collar crime is defined as a variety of different crimes in commercial environments, usually for the financial gain of the defendant.
There are many different types of white-collar crimes, and those convicted can face a range of charges, from misdemeanors to felonies. Examples of white-collar crimes include financial fraud or money scams, technology and computer-related crimes, exploitation of the elderly and vulnerable, counterfeiting or forgery, check fraud, prescription fraud, insurance fraud, bribery, and misuse of public office, inside trading, racketeering, and many more.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that the United States spends up to $300 million on investigating white-collar crimes every year.
What Is a Whistleblower?
When a white-collar crime goes to court, prosecutors will usually rely heavily on whistleblowers who are willing to provide details about any wrongdoing or criminal activity within a business.
A whistleblower is an employee that gives information to law enforcement or the government about criminal activity or wrongdoing (for example, unethical behavior) at their place of work. This could be a private or a public organization.
The Whistleblower Protection Act was introduced in the United States in 1989. This act guarantees workers freedom of speech and protects them from retaliation after they have exposed an organization. They usually choose to report their employer because of health and safety risks or even to protect themselves from criminal prosecution.
Examples of White Collar Crimes We Handle
- Banking fraud – This usually involves schemes that obtain funds illegally from a financial institution. For example, the defendant may have lied on an application for a loan from the bank.
- Credit card fraud – When credit cards (or credit card numbers) are obtained through illegal means, such as identity theft.
- Embezzlement – When a person who has been made responsible for certain shared funds converts them and uses them for their own personal financial gain.
- Money laundering – When money appears to have been gained through legal means, but it has actually been masked after being gained through criminal activity.
- Real estate fraud – Fraud that relates to real estate and other properties. For example, forging documents when selling a property.
- Mortgage Fraud – When false information is given on a mortgage application. This is also a type of real estate fraud.
- Healthcare fraud – Aquiring illegal funds in a healthcare setting. For example, making false statements or presenting false documentation to obtain a health program benefit.
- Medicare fraud – Another type of healthcare fraud in which Medicare is billed incorrectly or when false claims are made in order to gain funds through Medicare.
- Medicaid fraud – Another type of healthcare fraud where the Medicaid system is defrauded.
- Conspiracy to commit a fraudulent act – By conspiring with other individuals and planning to commit an act of fraud.
- Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) – When a person participates in fraud or any other crime with the involvement of a criminal organization.
- Mail fraud – When someone utilizes the United States Postal Service in the commission of a crime. For example, by sending fraudulent documents through the mail.
If you have been accused of any of the above crimes, it is important that you speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call The Law Place today for a free consultation.
Embezzling or Illegally Copying Trade Secrets
Embezzling is one example of a white-collar crime and usually involves the illegal copying of trade secrets. The well-known term “trade secret” refers to a part of or the entirety of any pattern, formula, or device (or a combination of these) that a business owner allows its members to use for the advantage of that business.
According to Florida Statute 812.081, any individual who willfully embezzles or steals a trade secret with the intent to use it to their own advantage or to deprive the owner of the business from having control of this trade secret will face third-degree felony charges. Penalties for this crime include 5-years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Real Estate Fraud
Real estate fraud is a common example of a white-collar crime in Venice. According to Florida Statute 817.535, any person who is involved in the unlawful filing of fictitious or fraudulent documents against any real estate or property with an intent to harass or defraud another person, and encourage them to change their interest in this piece of property, will face third-degree felony charges. Penalties for this crime include a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Money laundering is another common example of a white-collar crime. According to Florida Statute 896.101 (The Florida Money Laundering Act), it is illegal for any person residing in the State of Florida to commit any of the following acts of money laundering:
- Illegal transactions involving illicit sales of property.
- Willingly approve or carry out financial transactions that have been specifically designed to hide or disguise the identity of the owner or the source of purchase/proceeds in order to avoid reporting requirements.
- Attempting to conceal the details of this transaction to evade law enforcement or government officials.
- Selling a property that a legal official or a law enforcement officer would class as a subject of an unlawful transaction.
The charges that a person in Venice, Florida, who is involved in acts of money laundering, will face will largely depend on the value of the property and how serious the crime is deemed to be, but they could face the following penalties:
- If the offense involves financial transactions that range from $300 to $2,000, the culprit will face third-degree felony charges. Penalties include a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- If the offense involves financial transactions that range from $20,000 to less than $100,000, the culprit will face second-degree felony charges. Penalties include a fifteen-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- If the offense involves financial transactions that exceed $100,000, the culprit will face first-degree felony charges. Penalties include a thirty-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $10,000.
Anyone who is successfully charged with money laundering will also face civil penalty charges. These charges will not be greater than the value of the financial transactions associated with the money laundering offense or the sum of $25,000 (or higher in some cases). In order to avoid these charges, contact our law firm today for a free consultation with a white-collar crime attorney.
Mortgage Fraud is a white-collar crime that we frequently handle in Florida. According to Florida Statute 817.545, a person is considered to have committed an act of mortgage fraud if they:
- Misrepresent a property by giving any false statements with regards to the material value of the property during the mortgage lending process. The court will need to establish that the defendant intentionally misled the mortgage lender.
- Accept any additional proceeds or funds that stemmed from this fraudulent information.
- Willfully file the document that contains the misstatement or misrepresentation.
The statute states that any person who commits an act of mortgage fraud in Florida will face third-degree felony charges. Penalties include a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, if the mortgage loan value is over $100,000, the defendant will face second-degree felony charges, penalties for which include a 15-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Fraud Involving Security Interest
Another common example of a white-collar crime is fraud revolving around security interest. According to Florida Statute 817.562, a person is considered to have committed this crime when they are involved in an agreement concerning security interest of any personal property and:
- Rids themselves of that property without informing the owner of any of the proceeds.
- Disposes of the property, directly violating any security agreements. This is considered a direct breach of privacy.
Anyone who commits this act of fraud in Florida will face charges that reflect the value of the property itself, for example:
- If the property has been valued at over $300, the defendant will face third-degree felony charges. Penalties include a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- If the property has been valued at less than $300, the defendant will face first-degree misdemeanor charges. Penalties include a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Fraud Involving Credit and/or Purchases
Another example of a white-collar crime is fraud revolving around credit and purchases. According to Florida Statute 817.481, it is against the law to obtain credit or purchase items (including services and property) with a credit card that is fake or without the authorization of the person the card was addressed to. Similarly, anyone who avoids or prevents someone else from paying any charges set by law will also face criminal charges.
Anyone who is found guilty of this white-collar crime will face charges that reflect the value of the purchase, for example:
- If it is estimated that the property is worth over $300, the defendant will face charges of grand larceny.
- If it is estimated that the property is worth less than $300, the defendant will face charges of petit larceny.
Patient brokering is another common white-collar crime. According to Florida Statute 817.505, it is against the law to take part in any of the following fraudulent activities:
- Offering to pay or paying commissions, bribes, kickbacks, bonuses, or offer any other monetary “gifts” and/or taking part in split-fee agreements to gain patient referrals from healthcare facilities.
- Soliciting kickbacks, commissions, or any other similar funds for patient referrals to healthcare facilities.
Anyone who is found guilty of patient brokering in Florida will face charges that reflect the severity of their crime, for example:
- If they have violated one or more sections of this statute, they will face third-degree felony charges. Penalties include a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $5,000. They will also be ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.
- If they have violated one or more sections of this statute with a group of patients that includes 10 individuals or more but includes no more than 20 people, they will face second-degree felony charges. Penalties include a fifteen-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $10,000. They will also be ordered by the court to pay a $100,000 fine.
- If they have violated one or more sections of this code with a group of patients that includes 20 people or more, they will face first-degree felony charges. Penalties include a thirty-year prison sentence and/or a fine that does not exceed $10,000-$15,000. They will also be ordered by the court to pay a $500,000 fine.
On What Grounds Can You Be Charged With a White Collar-Crime in Florida?
- Willingly, intentionally, and fraudulently (with no permission from the authorities) possessed property or personal information belonging to the victim of the white-collar crime.
- They obtained this information without being given permission from the victim.
It is important to note that court members also have the burden of proving that the person accused of the white-collar crime was fully aware of the existence of this information.
A white-collar crime attorney from The Law Place can help you by building a defense that seeks to make the jury question whether the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the white-collar crime you have been accused of. To find out more, call us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced white-collar crime lawyers.
White-Collar Crime Defenses
As mentioned, the prosecutor in a white-collar crime case must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Common defenses to white-collar crimes involve:
- Discrediting the prosecutor’s case by challenging the evidence and disproving it.
- Arguing that you were coerced into committing the crime, otherwise known as entrapment. Entrapment occurs when law enforcement agents tempt or persuade the defendant to commit an offense that they would not have otherwise committed.
Call The Law Place to discuss your defense options with an experienced white-collar crime attorney.
What Our White-Collar Crime Lawyers Can Do for You
In the State of Florida, the burden of proof will always rest in the hands of the prosecution, who must prove your guilt. If you choose to work with us, an experienced white-collar crime attorney will be with you every step of the way to aggressively fight to protect your rights and your good name. If you are successfully convicted of a white-collar crime in Florida, it will remain on your permanent record and will have a lasting impact on your personal and professional life.
A white-collar crime attorney from our law firm may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. We could have your charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor or arrange a plea deal. A white-collar crime attorney could even work to have your charges dropped altogether, as we can use our skills to argue that you are innocent of the crimes you have been accused of.
Call us today to schedule your free, no-obligation legal consultation with an experienced white-collar crime attorney.
Speak to a White Collar Crime Attorney From The Law Place Today
If you have been accused of a white-collar crime, there is no time to waste. It is important that you find an experienced, skilled, and relentless legal team that will work to get your charges reduced or dismissed. It doesn’t matter if you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony. A white-collar crime attorney is your only chance of achieving a positive outcome in court. Even misdemeanor white-collar crimes can significantly impact you and your family’s life.
At The Law Place, we have the resources and strategies needed for a successful outcome, no matter how serious your charges are. We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation where we will review your case and explain all of your options. Call us today at (941) 444-4444. Our experienced white-collar crime lawyers are ready to get started on your case. Phone lines are open 24/7.