White-collar crime describes a wide range of activities that could involve embezzling funds that you were entrusted to hold for someone else, bribing a public official, filing a false tax return, forgery, or defrauding an older person out of money by not showing up to do repairs they paid for.
As you can see, white-collar crime can be committed anywhere from the boardroom to the garage. Anyone can be charged with a “white-collar” crime, no matter what they do for a living. The idea that only corporate executives committed white-collar crimes was never true.
The single thing that all people charged with white-collar crimes have in common is their absolute need to contact a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows exactly how to challenge the evidence against them. In Tampa, Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law, can immediately being to protect your rights and take every step necessary to minimize your criminal liability.
Florida’s White-Collar Crimes
The crimes qualifying as white-collar crimes can include any non-violent offense in which the offender obtains, attempts to obtain, or conspires to obtain money or something of value from the victim. Each of the crimes carries a penalty set by law; some are felonies, others are misdemeanors, and still others are aggravated felonies.
The idea that people convicted of white-collar crime get off easy or serve their sentences in prisons that are like “country clubs” is a false impression. Defendants who are convicted of defrauding vulnerable groups of victims, especially the elderly or veterans, face significant prison terms. If more than $50,000 is involved or if more than 10 victims are involved, the offense will be an aggravated white-collar crime and is punishable as s 1st-degree felony.
The punishment for a 1st-degree felony is up to 30 years in state prison, a fine of up to $500,000 plus twice the amount that was sought or obtained in the scheme.
Florida White-collar Crime Protection Act (F.S. 755.0844)
While many white-collar crimes are prosecuted in federal court, you should know that Florida has a very strict and comprehensive set of criminal laws aimed at penalizing those who commit crimes against Florida’s residents. The legislature even included a statement of its intent to take action against those who deceive, cheat, and defraud the elderly and other Floridians. The state legislature enacted this law to “enhance the sanctions imposed for nonviolent frauds and swindles, protect the public’s property, and assist in prosecuting white-collar criminals.”
The Florida White-collar Crime Protection Act imposes enhanced sentences on offenders in addition to the penalty they face for the underlying crime.
Defending Florida White-Collar Crimes
Experienced white-collar crime defense lawyers are skilled at contesting the evidence the prosecution relies upon in its attempt to get a conviction.
For each of these crimes, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant has a specific intent to defraud the victim or to commit the crime charged. A person who writes a bad check is not guilty if they mistakenly believed they had sufficient funds to cover the check.
A defendant charged with embezzlement is not guilty if they thought they were authorized to use the funds entrusted to them as they did.
While the intent to commit the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant, determining what was in anyone’s mind at a given time is not easy. To prove the defendant’s “guilty intent,” if the defendant did not confess, the government will use circumstantial evidence to try to prove guilt.
Circumstantial evidence is legal evidence, just like direct evidence, but the prosecution needs a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence to convince a jury that it has proven intent.
Experienced White-Collar Defense Lawyers in Tampa
Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law, in Tampa has extensive experience representing defendants charged with Florida white-collar criminal offenses. Their decades of courtroom advocacy for their clients have earned them the respect of their colleagues, fellow defense lawyers, judges, and prosecutors.
Stechschulte Nell’s recognition as fierce litigators and fair negotiators benefits their clients because they are known to be very capable opponents if the case proceeds to trial. That fact motivates prosecutors to try to find a reasonable disposition that will close the case and still be agreeable to the defense.
Collateral Consequences of White-Collar Crime Convictions
Convicted embezzlers, or persons convicted of taking part in a widescale scheme to defraud the elderly meet enormous obstacles when they try to resume normal life. A conviction involving “dishonesty” causes employers to fear that they will be the next victims.
And because of the massive fines that the court can impose on white-collar convicts, recovering financially can be impossible. The fallout from a future of financial deprivation destroys marriages, results in severe periods of deep depression, and can be a crushing emotional burden on any individual.
Taking immediate steps to contact the best white-collar crime defense lawyer in your area is the surest way to improve your chances of being treated fairly by the courts, negotiate favorable outcomes, and prevent a conviction by a skillful challenge to the evidence offered to prove a defendant’s guilt.
Florida’s state prisons are not known to be “country clubs.” The prison experience is often a genuine “shock” to the system of white-collar convicted felons who have never been in any similar environment. While an attempt is made to segregate violent, dangerous inmates from vulnerable prisoners, prison is not any place for those who are easily intimidated or fearful.
Working with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Only by working with an experienced white-collar defense lawyer will your case be presented in the best possible light before the court. Remember, not everyone who is charged or indicted on a white-collar criminal offense is guilty of any wrongdoing. For those with “some” minimal culpability, the danger is being portrayed by prosecutors as someone who was more of a central figure in the crime.
The best criminal defense lawyers for white-collar crimes are attorneys who believe in their clients and who will fight to get their clients the best possible outcome in light of all the facts, including the mitigating facts that tend to invite lenience from the prosecutor and the judge.
If you are facing Florida white-collar criminal charges, you need the best courtroom advocate you can find.
Contact Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law in Tampa and St. Petersburg for a case review today; 813-280-1244.