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White Collar Crime

White collar crime is commonly known as financial, economic or corporate crime, or as a crime committed through the course of a person’s business. These types of types of business crimes can be charged as federal offenses, Florida state offenses, or both, and can lead to very harsh penalties, including jail time and fines.

Some of the well-known types of white collar offenses in Florida can include:

Often those who are prosecuted for white collar crimes were not aware they were involved in an illegal operation, or were not the person leading and directing the criminal activity. Regardless of the reason you were charged with a criminal offense, it is important to hire an experienced attorney to help you develop your best defense to the criminal charges against you. White collar crimes require a sophisticated legal defense, as white collar offenses typically involve complex financial matters and intricate legal topics.

Orlando White Collar Crime Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, contact the law office of Hale, Hale & Jacobson at (407) 425-4640. Maria D. Hale and Richard O. Hale are knowledgeable attorneys who can help you find an applicable defense to the charges against you. or other factors that will help to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. If you have been accused of committing a Florida white collar crime, call the law office of Hale, Hale & Jacobson for a consultation about your alleged offense in Orlando.

White Collar Crime Information Center

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Florida White Collar Crime Offenses and Statutes

White collar crime can encompass a variety of offenses, which are listed in Florida’s White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act (Fla. Stat. § 775.0844). This Act defines the elements of each offense and the penalties for a white collar crime conviction in Florida. The following is summary of each of the more commonly charged white collar offenses under the state’s White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act in Orlando.

  • Fraud – Fla. Stat. §§ 817.02 – 817.569:
      This offense is generally defined as intentionally deceiving someone else in order to receive personal or financial gain. This chapter defines numerous fraudulent offenses and penalties for these offenses. A few fraud offenses include, but are not limited to, identity theft, credit card fraud, making false statements, making false financial entries, making false insurance claims, fraudulently changing identification marks on property and obtaining vehicles by fraud.
  • Forgery and Counterfeiting – Fla. Stat. § 831.01 – 831.311:
      These offenses generally occur when a person false makes, alters, forges or counterfeits any type of document or instrument with the intent to defraud someone. There are a variety of offenses that can constitute forgery or counterfeiting, including, but not limited to, forging bank bills, forging checks, forging drafts, forging promissory notes, forging wills, counterfeiting currency, and counterfeiting controlled substances.
    • These offenses are typically punishable as felonies of the third degree.
  • Identity Theft – Fla. Sta. § 817.568:
      This offense occurs by willfully taking or using personally indentifying information of another person without their authorization and using that information for fraudulent persons.
    • This offense is punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree, or felony of the first, second or third degree, depending on the financial gain the offender received from committing the offense, the number of victims, the age of the victim, and how the crime was perpetrated. First and second degree identity theft felonies can also result in mandatory prison sentences.
  • Embezzlement – Fla. Stat. § 812.014: 
      This offense is usually known as employee theft, and is prosecuted under Florida’s theft statutes as either petit or grand theft. This crime occurs when someone who has lawful possession of the property (an employee) of someone else takes (an employer) or manipulates the property for their own benefit. 
    • Depending on the value of the property stolen and the degree of the theft, these charges can be misdemeanors of the first or second degree, or felonies in the third, second or first degree.
  • Credit Card Fraud – Fla. Stat. §§ 817.57 – 817.685:
      Many credit card offenses in Florida are defined in the State Credit Card Crime Act, including making a false statement to a person to gain access to their financial condition or identity, obtaining someone else’s credit card through theft or other fraudulent means, and fraudulently using another person’s credit card.
    • The offenses listed in Florida’s State Credit Card Crime Act are punishable as either Misdemeanors of the First Degree or Felonies of the Third Degree.
  • Giving Worthless Checks – Fla. Stat. § 832.05:
      This offense is also known as writing bad checks, hot checks or bounced checks. This offense usually occurs when a person writes a check to purchase an item knowing there are insufficient funds in the bank to pay for the check. This offense is punishable as either a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third degree, depending on the amount of the check.

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Federal White Collar Crime Charges

White collar crimes are also commonly prosecuted as federal crimes, which can result in lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. Many white collar crimes involving the internet or any white collar crimes that cross state lines are prosecuted as federal crimes. A few of the most common federal white collar crime offenses include:

RICO, or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, is one of the most commonly prosecuted federal white collar crime statutes. RICO, as defined in Title 18 of the United States Code §§ 1961-1968, is a federal law that was enacted to prosecute individuals or organizations who commit at least two criminal acts, within a 10 year period, associated with racketeering activity that involves interstate commerce. Federal RICO committed in Florida will be prosecuted in Florida federal courts.

Mail Fraud, as defined in 18 USC § 1341, usually involves committing a fraud through the use of the United States Postal Service, or other private mail carrier, against someone else to obtain their money or property. For example, if someone sells non-existent property in one state to a person located in another state through the use of mail, this is mail fraud.

Wire Fraud involves fraudulent activity through the use of any wire, such as telephones, internet or radio that crosses state lines. These offenses are easily prosecuted as federal crimes, since most wires will ultimately cross state lines.

Securities Fraud frequently occurs when a company, or agent of the company, fails to disclose an accurate depiction of their activities or financial reports to investors or analysts.

Insider Trading occurs when an agent of a company discloses non-public information about the company for financial gain, including stock information or securities information.

Ponzi Schemes can occur when a money investment manager takes money from new investors to pay old ones, and accrues personal financial gain, instead of investing the money as the investment manager was required to do.

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Florida State Penalties for White Collar Offenses

White collar crime penalties under Florida law are generally more lenient than federal white collar crime punishments, as defined in Fla. Stat. §§ 775.082 and 775.083. A conviction for these types of penalties in Florida can result in misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the offense and whether the offender has previously been convicted of criminal charges. In addition to the basic sentencing guidelines below, offenders can be required to pay restitution, pay court costs, serve mandatory prison sentences, and pay additional fines.

  • A conviction for a misdemeanor of the second degree in Florida can incur up to 60 days in Florida jail and/or fines not more than $500.
  • Misdemeanors of the first degree can result in jail sentences up to one year and/or fines not exceeding $1,000.
  • Felonies of the third degree can lead to imprisonment for five years or less and/or fines up to $5,000.
  • Second degree felonies can include imprisonment up to 15 years in state prison and/or not more than a $10,000 fine.
  • Offenses classified as felonies of the first degree can result in up to 30 years in prison or possible life imprisonment and/or fines not in excess of $10,000.

Someone who commits an aggravated white collar crime, which is committing white collar offenses against 10 or more elderly persons, 20 or more persons in general, or against the state of Florida, any state agency or any state political subdivision, and obtaining or attempting to obtain $50,000 or more, can be charged with a felony of the first degree. Additionally, aggravated white collar crime offenders can be required to pay a $500,000 fine, or double the value of the offender’s financial gain.

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White Collar Crime Resources in Florida

Secure Florida – This Florida-based organization was created to protect the state’s citizens from cyber crimes that can include identity theft. This link is to information about how to avoid identity theft, what to do if you are a victim of identity theft, and resources for identity theft in Florida.

Florida Attorney General – Consumer Protection – This site is to consumer protection resources as provided by the Attorney General in Florida. Consumer protection can include information on identity theft and various types of theft. This site has access to resources, how to protect yourself, and protections provided by Florida law.

The FBI White Collar Crime Division – The Federal Bureau of Investigation White Collar Crime Division’s web site describes white collar crime scams, prevention tactics, current programs and the Most Wanted list.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – The SEC is a federal government agency that protects investors from many white collar crimes and maintains the financial markets in the United States.

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Hale, Hale & Jacobson | Orlando White Collar Crime Arrest Lawyer

If you have been charged with a white collar crime in Orange County, Florida, contact the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson to discuss the facts of your particular case with experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. Richard O. Hale and Maria D. Hale will make every effort to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your situation. Contact the attorneys of Hale, Hale & Jacobson at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation about your white collar offense in Orange County, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Orlando, Seminole County, Osceola County, Winter Park and Kissimmee.