Fraud

Clearwater and St. Petersburg Attorney Skilled in White Collar Crime Cases

In the legal sense, the term “fraud” can refer to a crime involving deception or a civil wrong perpetuated through misinformation. Sometimes, a particular act can be the subject of both a criminal prosecution by the government and a civil lawsuit brought by the alleged victim of the fraudulent scheme. Defending a criminal fraud case can be a complex endeavor, since these white collar crime cases typically involve complicated, multi-layered circumstances, not to mention a myriad of state and federal statutes, case law, and regulations. Experienced St. Petersburg and Clearwater fraud defense lawyer Will Hanlon and the staff at Hanlon Law are available to provide the legal guidance and advocacy that you need if you are facing a fraud charge brought by the State of Florida or the federal government.

The term “fraud” does not refer as much to a specific crime as to a method of perpetuating a theft on another individual, a business, or a governmental entity. The key to determining whether criminal responsibility exists in a given situation is typically whether or not the offender committed the deceptive act for their personal gain. Not every “hoax” is a crime, but there are many, many types of fraud that are punishable under the law: computer fraud, consumer fraud, credit card fraud, health care fraud, immigration fraud, insurance fraud, internet fraud, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, Ponzi scheme fraud, prescription drug fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, welfare fraud… The list goes on and on.

Defending a Fraud Case Under State or Federal Laws

Depending upon the type of fraud that was allegedly perpetrated, the number of victims of the crime, and the amount of money that was stolen via the fraudulent act, the defendant could be facing many years in prison and fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is critical to seek assistance from a fraud defense attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg when so much is at stake. In addition to incarceration and financial penalties, a person convicted of fraud faces other difficulties simply because they have a criminal record. This is especially true for convicted felons. Civil liberties may be lost, including the right to hold public office and the right to possess a firearm, and the defendant may face considerable challenges in the years to come in finding work in certain fields, especially in the financial sector or in government, as well as difficulty locating suitable housing.

Each fraud case is unique, and the defenses available vary substantially from case to case. Sometimes an affirmative defense such as entrapment may be possible, but this approach might not work in another situation. Alternatively, it may be possible to disprove an element of the offense that the State needs to prove in order to meet its burden of proof, using evidence offered on the defendant’s behalf or discrediting the State’s proof, such as the testimony of a witness who has credibility issues. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution offers certain protections to defendants in criminal trials, and a violation of these rights may lead to the exclusion of evidence that the State would otherwise use to prove guilt. Since the burden is on the State to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, it is important to explore any and every way to throw obstacles in its path.

Speak to an Experienced Fraud Defense Lawyer in Clearwater or St. Petersburg

Time is of the essence in defending a fraud or other white collar crime case. By obtaining the services of a knowledgeable criminal attorney like Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law early in the process, or even before an arrest or charge, you can increase the chances of successfully defending yourself in court. For an appointment to discuss a criminal matter arising in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Newport Richey, or Dade City, call us now at 727-897-5413 or contact us online. Will Hanlon has been handling these cases for more than two decades, and he is also available to help if you need an identity theft attorney or assistance in fighting other white collar charges.