White Collar Criminal Defense AttorneysTheft, Fraud, and Bribery Defense in Jacksonville, FL
White collar crimes such as schemes to defraud, employee theft, embezzlement and insurance fraud can carry serious consequences. Often, these cases present special challenges in the courtroom, since they may involve complex financial issues and a willingness to sift through a significant amount of financial discovery. If you’ve been charged with any of the offenses previously mentioned or any other offense that falls under the umbrella of white collar crime, it’s important to work with a lawyer well versed in defending clients charges with white collar crimes.
At Johnson and Lufrano, P.A., we have the criminal trial experience needed to skillfully defend those facing white collar crimes. To learn more about how we can help you, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation right now.
What is White Collar Crime?
While the term gets tossed around a good bit, there is no offense in Florida known as white collar crime. Instead, the term white collar crime generally refers to non-violent, financially-motivated crimes. These crimes are typically committed by professionals, government officials or employees, and others in a position of professional trust. However, a person doesn’t have to fit into any of those categories to commit or to face prosecution for white collar crimes.
A well known example of white collar crime would include the large-scale Ponzi scheme operated by financial advisor Bernard Madoff. But other examples could include physicians or medical administrators accused of insurance fraud, mortgage brokers and other real estate professionals charged with mortgage fraud, financial industry professionals accused of embezzling funds from clients, and even attorneys accused of diverting client funds for their own use.
Some of the types of white collar crimes the white collar crime attorneys at Johnson and Lufrano, P.A. handle include:
- Embezzlement, (commonly known in Florida as Theft)
- Schemes to Defraud
- Organized Fraud
Under current Florida law, many white collar crimes involving misappropriation of property have been consolidated into the criminal statute addressing theft crimes. Thus, a person who is accused of committing embezzlement or of procuring property through fraud will be charged with theft. If you are charged with a theft crime, the possible penalty typically depends on the value of the property in question and how many prior theft convictions you happen to have.
For example, theft of money or property valued at $100,000 or more is generally charged as a first degree felony, and carries a possible prison sentence of up to 30 years. Other variables may also impact the classification of the crime and the possible sentence one might face, including the type of property involved, whether the theft resulted in damage to the property of another, and the method by which the theft was effectuated.
Other white collar crimes, such as money laundering and insurance fraud, are separate crimes. Violations of the Florida money laundering law may be first, second, or third degree felonies, depending on the total value of transactions across a 12-month period. Insurance fraud may also be classified as a first, second, or third degree felony, depending on the value of the property involved.
If You’ve Been Charged with a White Collar Crime, Don’t Delay
Most white collar crime doesn’t make headlines like armed robberies and residential break-ins, but the consequences can be just as serious. If you’ve been charged with insurance fraud, accused of stealing money from your employer, forging real estate documents, or are otherwise facing white collar criminal charges, you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Criminal prosecutions often move forward quickly, and if you are unprepared or have not consulted with an attorney experienced in white collar crime defense you could easily become your own worst enemy. Moreover without the assistance of a trained attorney to guide you its possible to miss out on opportunities to obtain evidence, raise defenses, and otherwise build the strongest defense possible. The white collar crime attorneys at Johnson and Lufrano, P.A. have the knowledge and experience required to successfully represent you in any white collar criminal case, whether that means fighting to clear your name in the courtroom or negotiating a reduced or favorable plea agreement.
White Collar Crime FAQs
As mentioned above, white collar crime is a generic term for a multitude of non-violent financial crimes. Thus the information below is intended to help you educate yourself generally about white collar crimes and the possible consequences of a white collar crime conviction. But, there is no substitute for the counsel of an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney.
How serious is white collar crime?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says white collar crime costs about $300 billion per year across the United States. Legislatures and law enforcement in Florida and around the country take white collar crime seriously.
In Florida, most white collar crimes are felonies. And, depending on the type of crime and the value of the property involved, a white collar criminal charge may mean the possibility of decades in prison and serious fines. If you’ve been charged with a white collar crime, it’s in your best interest to take it seriously and get advice from an experienced Florida white collar crime attorney right away.
What is the difference between blue collar and white collar crime?
The term “white collar crime” emerged to describe a class of crimes typically committed by professionals and often carried out from behind a desk, through the manipulation of documents and transferring of money, rather than through force or violence. The term “blue collar crime” is less commonly used, but typically refers to rougher types of crimes often committed by those with lower professional standing. The terminology comes from a time when professionals and office workers typically wore crisp white shirts to the office, while manual laborers wore darker clothing because they tended to get dirty on the job.
Who commits white collar crime?
It’s possible for anyone to commit white collar crime.That said, white collar crimes are most commonly committed by middle-class professionals, managers, and government employees, as people in these fields have the greatest access and means to misappropriate money and property belonging to others or doctor records to benefit themselves and co-conspirators.
For example, insurance fraud falls under the umbrella of white collar crime, and anyone who falsifies a workers’ compensation claim or lies about the extent of their injuries after a car accident to get a larger settlement may be guilty of that crime. Similarly, mortgage fraud is a white collar crime, and may be committed by a mortgage broker or other real estate or financial professional, but may also be committed by an applicant who misrepresents his income on the application.
Who prosecutes white collar crimes?
In Florida, those individuals charged with white collar crimes will be prosecuted by either The State of Florida or the United States. At the State level the prosecuting agency is the State Attorney, while at the Federal level it would be the US Attorney. Additionally, since state and federal governments have similar statutes governing certain types of criminal activity it’s possible that the commission of white collar crimes could be pursued by either State or Federal Officials. What’s more is that if both jurisdictions wished to, it is possible to be prosecuted by both State and Federal government for the same criminal conduct without a violation of double jeopardy. So if you are a loved one happens to be facing a charge for a white collar crime, don’t delay, reach out to the defense attorneys at Johnson and Lufrano, P.A. for a free consultation.
What should I do if I am being investigated for a white collar crime?
Any time you become aware that you are a suspect in a crime or are the target of an investigation, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
While you may be inclined to wait and hope the situation resolves itself, a criminal investigation is unlikely to simply go away. And, you will likely be called upon to make decisions about whether to talk to police or investigators and what if anything else you provide. These decisions are best made with the advice and assistance of a qualified defense attorney.
Will a white collar crime conviction affect my career options?
A conviction for any criminal offense could certainly impact your future career options. This statement is especially true for those convicted of white collar crime for a number of reasons. First, any employer who learns of your criminal record might choose not to hire you. Second, convictions of certain offenses, including various white collar crimes, might bar you from obtaining necessary licensing or certification to pursue various careers. Third convictions for various criminal offenses, including white collar crimes often require the individual convicted to report the offense to the profession’s governing body or licensing authority.
Certain convictions may also disqualify a person from holding a professional license or may result in license suspension. If you’ve been charged with a white collar crime, before you do anything it’s important to discuss with an experienced criminal defense attorney the options and potential ramifications of any course of action.
Are white collar crimes victimless?
Although the impact on victims may be less immediately obvious with white collar crimes than in crimes of violence, few are victimless. Many white collar crimes involve theft, which obviously impacts the owner of the property. But, the effect doesn’t necessarily end there. For example, in the case of embezzlement from a corporation, other employees may be affected, along with the company’s shareholders.
Even when the impact of one incident is small, white collar crime aggregates to impact the economy as a whole. As a result, prosecutors tend to treat white collar crime much more seriously than some people anticipate.