We hear about white-collar crime nearly every day in the news, and this is a phrase that many people are familiar with. The FBI first used the term in 1939, to describe economic crimes characterized by deceit, mistrust, or concealment, and which do not depend upon violence or physical force. Even though there is usually no physical injury incurred with this type of crime, white-collar crimes are not victimless. Victims include individuals, businesses, financial institutions, governments, and religious organizations.
White-collar crimes are often complex or sophisticated, involving layers and reams of actors, documents, records, and statements. Law enforcement authorities often have specialized forensic units devoted to white collar or financial crimes. White-collar crimes are usually the subject of more intensive investigation before an arrest is made or criminal charges are brought.
Florida enacted the White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act “due to the frequency with which victims, particularly elderly victims, are deceived and cheated by criminals who commit nonviolent frauds and swindles, frequently through the use of the Internet and other electronic technology and frequently causing the loss of substantial amounts of property.”
The Act includes a laundry list of white-collar crimes, defined as committing, or conspiring to commit, a felony offense involving:
- Computer-related crimes
- Wiring / transmitting money
- Forgery and counterfeiting
- Abuse, neglect, or exploiting elderly or disabled adults
The law is aimed not at small isolated incidents, but rather at larger fraudulent schemes (which requires at least two or more similar victims, results, accomplices, or methods of commission). If the crimes total over $50,000 and involve 20 persons (or 10 elderly persons), the crimes can be categorized as a 1st-degree felony with significant penalties (including making restitution). A white-collar criminal convicted of aggravated white-collar crime is graded as a level 9 offender—the second highest offense category on the Department of Corrections (DOC) severity ranking chart, which usually leads to incarceration.
Other typical white-collar crimes include:
- ATM fraud
- Writing bad checks
- Computer fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Insurance scams
- Investor scams
- Ponzi schemes
- Tax swindles
- Telephone fraud
- Travel scams
Many white-collar crimes are violations of both state and federal law. Federal charges are usually more serious. Therefore, hiring the right criminal defense attorney to represent you is extremely important. Your attorney must be experienced with defending the criminal charges you face, and know how to navigate state and federal prosecutors and the courts.
Arrested for a White Collar Crime? Accused of Fraud, Theft, Forgery, or Embezzlement? Call a St. Petersburg, Florida, Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you or someone you know was arrested, charged, or accused of a white-collar crime, get help immediately and speak with an experienced attorney. The seasoned criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group are ready to help you. Call us right away at (727) 269-5300 to set up a time to discuss your case. You can also contact us confidentially online. Our seasoned professionals will devote themselves to defending your white-collar criminal case.