While they do not always receive the same level of public attention as violent crimes against persons or property, being charged with fraud or some other so-called “white collar” crime can have equally serious consequences. Though its usage has become more popular in recent years, the term “white-collar crime” actually dates from the 1930s. White collar crimes are typically those committed for illegal monetary gain, but without the use or threat of violence.
Although Florida law contains no formal list, the following are some common examples of what may be considered white collar offenses:
- Mortgage fraud;
- Mail fraud;
- Check fraud;
- Wire fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Identity fraud;
- Theft by Embezzlement;
- Bribery and public corruption;
- Counterfeiting of money and checks; and
As is the case with theft committed by by physically taking another person’s tangible property, fraud, embezzlement and similar charges are classified as misdemeanors or felonies. In general, the distinction will be based upon the amount of money actually taken. Theft of $300 to $20,000 by fraud is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in jail. Theft of $20,000 to $100,000 by fraud is a second-degree felony, which can be punished by incarceration for not more than 15 years. Theft of more than $100,000 by fraud is a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail.
The Importance of Knowledgeable and Experienced Legal Representation
Regardless of whether you are the subject of an active investigation or have been formally charged in a criminal case, it is essential that you understand your legal rights. Even if you are entirely convinced of your innocence, voluntarily speaking to police or prosecutors prior to obtaining sound, knowledgeable legal counsel can be a major error. In recent years, federal agencies have become more heavily involved in the investigation of certain offenses, including mortgage and Medicaid fraud.
Moreover, because by their nature fraud and other white collar crimes often involve multiple suspects, prosecutors often include conspiracy charges along with the actual crime itself. This can in turn lead to the use of unsworn and unsubstantiated statements by others being charged as evidence against you at trial.
The criminal defense attorneys at Orner Law, LLC are respected and trusted by clients, colleagues and prosecutors throughout South Florida. We are committed to providing the most vigorous possible defense for every client. We will thoroughly investigate the evidence against you and explore all potentially available defenses. We will use our years of experience and expertise to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Contact one of our offices, conveniently located in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, today to schedule an initial consultation.