Most people associate “crime” and “criminal defense” with notions of violent offenses like murder or aggravated assault. While violent offenses, property crimes, and drug offenses certainly make up a large proportion of the crimes charged in our justice system, white collar crime is a significant aspect of that system as well. Because white collar criminals are often more well connected and because white collar crime is not as glamorous, we hear less about such offenses in today’s popular media. However, just because white collar crimes don’t make the news as often, it does not mean that you should not seek out a skilled Clearwater criminal defense lawyer to represent you if you are investigated or charged with such an offense.
One common white collar crime is securities fraud, punishable under Florida Statute 517.301. Securities fraud is defined as the use of any scheme or artifice to defraud an investor in the connection with the sale or purchase of an investment or security. A person can also be convicted under the statute if he or she is found to have obtained money or property through the means of an untrue statement of a material fact or an omission of a material fact. Finally, a person can be convicted of securities fraud if he or she is convicted of engaging in a course of business which operates as fraud or deceit upon investors.
Securities fraud seems like the type of criminal offense that is relegated to the big screen in films like “Boiler Room” or “The Wolf of Wall Street.” And while investment fraud certainly used to be the foray of Wall Street hot shots, the prevalence of trading platforms and the ease of making complex investments today has opened up opportunities for much less sophisticated traders to be charged in securities fraud actions. Financial criminal offenses can result in serious criminal penalties that may include incarceration and significant monetary penalties. Hiring an experienced Clearwater criminal defense lawyer to assist you in such matters is critical to your future.Securities Fraud Defenses
In a booming stock market, many individual investors have made extraordinary sums of money trading securities. These successes often lead to a false sense of security in a financial market that is extremely volatile over the long term. When these overconfident investors seek out larger wins, they often try out riskier investments. And while making risky investments is no crime, greed nearly always begins to blur the legal lines. Criminal laws begin to come into play when investors, seeking bigger paydays, start soliciting other people’s money in order to do so.
An investor who reaches out to friends, family members and acquaintances and makes material misrepresentations or omissions of material facts in order to coerce people to provide money for investments can be prosecuted for securities fraud in Florida. While it may be legal to pool together funds in order to make larger trades in some circumstances, it is never legal to lie to investors when you are taking their money. It is important when entering into such agreements to fully document any and all transactions. It is also critical to invest with people that you trust. Because when the money is coming in, everyone will be happy, but when investments go south, everyone will begin looking for a scapegoat.
The penalties for securities fraud can be severe. Anyone convicted of such an offense Is guilty of a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. And if the money obtained by the defrauded parties is greater than $50,000, the offense is upgraded to a first degree felony punishable by up to thirty years. Hiring a dedicated Clearwater criminal lawyer to defend you can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration.Speak to our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law pride themselves on the excellent results they obtain for their clients facing serious and minor crimes alike. To find out how we can help you with your case, call us today at 727.897.5413.