Accused of a White Collar Crime in Florida?

by Katie Hewatt on July 25, 2012

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People from all walks of life have gotten a criminal record at some point in time. Most of these records are overlooked and sometimes even forgotten due to their lack of severity; this is not the case with white collar crimes. White collar crimes are nonviolent and are usually motivated strictly by financial gain. Florida, just like every other state, has harsh penalties associated with white collar crime. Hollywood and the mass media have led people to believe that everyone accused of white collar crimes is a monster, but in reality, not all of them are. There are several crimes that are considered ‘white collar,’ and these crimes can carry harsh penalties.

White Collar Crimes

There are several crimes that can fall under the white collar umbrella. These crimes include fraud, ponzi schemes, embezzlement, bribery, insider trading, money laundering and even forgery. These crimes can be committed by anyone, but the term ‘white collar’ is usually only applied when a person in a trusted financial position has committed the crime. Unfortunately, a person within a company can sometimes be a part of these crimes without even knowing it. This is a legitimate defense when a person is charged with any of these white collar crimes.

Federal Issues

Even if a white collar crime is committed within the state of Florida, there are federal laws which can make penalties even greater if a person is convicted. It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney Orlando based law firm immediately after being accused, but it is especially important to have this legal representation if the Federal government gets involved. In addition to whatever penalties Florida enforces, the Federal government can charge a person in federal court and add additional penalties. The U.S. Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 after several large scale white collar crimes, like those perpetrated by Enron, decimated many people’s lives.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act added additional penalties to individuals who altered or covered up any financial records, corporate officers who did not certify financial reports and any individual that attempted to retaliate against a whistleblower. These penalties can consist of decades of imprisonment and millions of dollars worth of fines for each criminal act. These federal penalties can lead to a person spending their entire lives in prison for nonviolent acts, which is why it is so important to contact an attorney immediately. Authorities do not play around with white collar criminal charges, so those accused of them shouldn’t either.

Florida Law

Florida has different laws to cover every single type of white collar crime previously listed, but they have also taken a further step to punish those accused of white collar crimes. Florida’s White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act sets forth additional penalties for “aggravated white collar crime.” Aggravated white collar crime is engaging in two or more white collar crimes that are interrelated in any way or that are not isolated.

A person convicted of fraud or any other white collar crime would receive a sentence for that specific crime, but then face further penalties. When convicted of an aggravated white collar crime, a person must pay a fine of either $500,000 or a fine double to the loss they caused. The convicted must also reimburse all of the money that people lost either directly or indirectly due to the crime. For all of these reasons, a person must contact an Orlando criminal defense attorney if they wish to avoid these penalties. These are serious charges that only a trained attorney will know how to defend against.

Any crime that falls into the ‘white collar’ category isn’t one that should be faced alone. These crimes aren’t simple DUI or assault charges that carry minimal jail time; these charges carry serious consequences that will definitely affect a person’s entire life. Once a person is charged with a white collar crime, it is in their best interest to get a lawyer as soon as possible. Anyone who faces the legal system alone in these situations is likely to lose everything.

Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing writer for Florida Attorneys Katz & Phillips, who have successfully defended white collar crime cases. The professionals at Katz & Phillips think outside the box and will do their best to defend your case.

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

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