White Collar Crimes
Over the last several years, the government has taken an increasingly aggressive posture toward individuals and businesses suspected of violating government regulations and criminal statutes through fraud and theft.
“White collar” crimes are those committed by professionals, business people and public officials. These crimes often involve allegations of a deliberate attempt to mislead others. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) regards “white collar crime” as those illegal acts characterized by violation of trust, deceit or concealment not necessarily dependent on the application of threats, force or violence.
The Miami white collar criminal defense lawyers at Jacobs Keeley recognize that most of the time people accused of these crimes are ordinary people who have made rash or uncharacteristically poor decisions. In some situations, there has been a grave misunderstanding. Because of the complexity of these types of crimes and the investigations into them by the government, it is important to engage an experienced criminal trial attorney early on.
White collar criminal cases are among the most complex to prosecute and defend. The opportunity for mistakes is ample and it is crucial for defendants to seek experienced legal representation. In addition to the criminal defense experience that our team of attorneys has, at Jacobs Keeley we have experience in complex financial transactions and the medical industry that are commonly at the heart of alleged white collar crimes.
Even though this class of crimes does not involve acts of violence or physical force, the penalties are often just as severe for white collar criminal defendants. In addition to lengthy prison terms, penalties can include exorbitant fines, substantial restitution orders, loss of career and a private life left in shambles.
Some of the most common white collar crimes include:
- Embezzlement Crimes
- Money Laundering Crimes
- Wire Fraud Crimes
- Mortgage Fraud Crimes
- Banking Fraud Crimes
- Credit Card Fraud Crimes
- Identity Theft Crimes
- Mail Fraud Crimes
- Health Care/Pharmaceutical Fraud Crimes
- Medicare Fraud Crimes
- Medicaid Fraud Crimes
- Bankruptcy Fraud Crimes
- Public Corruption Crimes
- Campaign Finance Crimes
- Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Crimes
In some cases, law enforcement agencies target businesses and individuals engaged in legitimate practices because they lack knowledge of an industry. It is important that you have an experienced attorney engaged early on so that someone can intervene on your behalf in the investigation before any decision is made as to whether a prosecution will be initiated. If you are the target of a federal or state investigation, you should not attempt to face the allegations against you alone.
Our white-collar defense attorneys possess a wide range of practical and legal experience that allows us to provide exceptional service and representation throughout the investigation and prosecution of a case, as well as during parallel proceedings by other state and federal agencies. Because our attorneys are also experienced civil litigators, we can assist you in any related parallel civil actions that may arise from the criminal investigation.
By utilizing a proactive approach, we can help raise defenses with prosecutors and regulators early on. We can sometimes persuade the government not to proceed with charges that will be costly and time-consuming if they go forward.White Collar Crime Facts
According to the FBI, fraud convictions result in billions of dollars in restitution orders and hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and forfeitures.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization at Syracuse University, reported 512 new white-collar crime prosecutions initiated by the U.S. Justice Department just in August 2014 alone.
Specific charges included:
- Fraud by wire, radio or television
- Conspiracy to commit offenses to defraud the U.S.
- Conspiracy to commit Mail fraud
- Theft of public money, property or records
- Bank fraud
- Trafficking in counterfeit goods and services
In the last five years, the greatest increase in prosecutions was seen in the category of “Mail Fraud – Attempt and Conspiracy” under 18 U.S.C. 1349.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the lead investigative agency for most white-collar crimes, followed by other federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Homeland Security. State agencies account for just 6 percent of such cases. Because these cases are handled primarily at the federal level, your attorney must have experience in a federal courtroom.
South Florida, in particular, has been a hotbed of white-collar criminal activity, according to this recent article in the Sun-Sentinel. In fact, the region ranks second in the nation for fraud investigations and prosecutions, falling just behind the New York City area.
Florida’s White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act, codified in Florida Statute 775.0844, enhances penalties imposed for non-violent frauds and swindles. The statute also defines certain serious crimes that are rarely prosecuted but need to be vigorously defended should you ever be accused of violating this statute.
For example, a person who commits “aggravated white collar crime” if he or she engages in at least two white collar crimes of the same or similar intents, results, accomplices, victims or methods. If in so doing, he or she victimizes 10 or more elderly persons, 20 or more other adults or the state of Florida, and in the course obtains or attempts to obtain more than $50,000, it is considered a first-degree felony. That is on par with murder, and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.Defending White Collar Crime
Given what is at stake, defendants in white collar criminal cases must seek advice from experienced legal counsel. Defense of white collar action is a complicated matter because the law itself is constantly evolving, particularly as newer technologies continue to emerge.
Our firm has access to numerous experts, including forensic accountants and industry specialists, who can help strengthen our clients’ defense.
Possible defense strategies will likely involve a multi-dimensional approach that may include assertions of:
- Insufficient evidence
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of intent
- Failure to read Miranda warning
- Constitutional issues
- Illegal search & seizure
Recognize that if you are under investigation or have been charged with a white-collar crime, you are in serious trouble. The best way to help yourself is to let us help you.
If you find yourself under arrest, do not run. But also, do not try to explain. Remain silent. Do not grant permission to search your home or car, but do not resist arrest if they take you into custody. Do not believe what the police tell you, and do not try to be nice. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in court – and you can’t afford to tip the scales further in their favor.
Contact the Miami Criminal Defense Lawyers at Jacobs Keeley Trial Lawyers for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.
Call us at (305) 358-7991.