White Collar Crimes

Disputing a Charge of Fraud or a Similar Offense in Clearwater or St. Petersburg

A so-called “white collar crime” is a criminal offense that is primarily motivated by potential financial gain. Such crimes are nonviolent and are often committed by individuals who work in “white collar” (rather than “blue collar”) jobs. Both the federal government and the State of Florida have specific laws dealing with this type of financially motivated criminal wrongdoing, and the level of punishment can be surprisingly similar to penalties based on a conviction of a more traditional offense. St. Petersburg and Clearwater white collar crime lawyer Will Hanlon handles a wide variety of complex criminal matters, including fraud and other types of financial crimes.

“White collar crime” is often used generically to refer to crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, and antitrust violations. Ponzi schemes and tax evasion are also considered white collar crimes, as is money laundering. Just as with “street crimes,” there are many ways to commit a white collar crime. Fraud, for instance, can take the form of insider trading (also called “securities fraud”), insurance fraud, and investment schemes based on false promises. Whether a defendant is prosecuted under state or federal law depends in large part on the particular nature of the fraud in question.

Fighting a Charge of a White Collar Crime

Many people have the assumption that white collar crime is not taken as seriously as other crime. This is not necessarily true. In fact, a person who engages in white collar criminal activity can receive just as much jail time as a person convicted of a violent crime and may incur a substantially larger fine. Thus, it is important to retain a white collar crime attorney in Clearwater or St. Petersburg if you are being investigated for this type of offense. For example, in addition to the punishments set forth under the law for violations of a particular section of the criminal code, the White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act set forth in Florida Statutes § 775.0844 may impose additional penalties in some cases. When a defendant has victimized at least 20 people (or 10 or more elderly people) and obtained $50,000 or more, the defendant can be found guilty of a first-degree felony and ordered to pay a fine of $500,000 or double the amount that they derived from the criminal activity, whichever is greater. The defendant in such a case may also be ordered to pay court costs and restitution to the victims of the crime – even if the victims are not named in the indictment against the defendant.

Defending a white collar crime case can be challenging, but there are sometimes strategies that may assist the defendant in negating an element of the State’s case, such as intent or knowledge. This may prevent the State from meeting its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Another strategy may involve the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence, such as the fruits of a warrantless search executed in violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. A defense attorney also may call into question the reliability of testimony offered by a witness for the State or make an affirmative defense.

Seek Assistance from a White Collar Crime Lawyer Serving Clearwater and St. Petersburg

If you have been accused of a white collar crime, your reputation, livelihood, and freedom are all at risk. An experienced defense attorney like Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law can offer you the guidance and legal advice that you need during this time. To discuss a charge of identity theft or another criminal matter with us, call 727-897-5413 or contact us online for an appointment. White collar crimes can be very complex, both in terms of the underlying facts and the law governing the alleged offense. At such a time, you need a St. Petersburg or Clearwater white collar crime attorney who is knowledgeable in this area and who has the time and resources to give your case the attention that it deserves. With 20 years of experience, Attorney Hanlon works hard to protect the legal rights of people in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Newport Richey, and Dade City.