When it comes to white collar crimes, there are no "soft" charges. You could face years in prison and heavy fines. Our attorneys fight for our clients' interests in the face of investigations and allegations.
Criminal Charges for Business & Financial Offenses
The term white collar crime refers to nonviolent, financially motivated crimes. Many are committed by "white collar" professionals or by people who work for a government agency, but not all of them. Some people accused of committing white collar crimes, such as counterfeiting or identity theft, do not wear a suit and tie to work as the term implies.
White collar charges are often brought against:
- Doctors (insurance fraud)
- Corporate executives
- Business managers
- Loan officers
- Other professionals
Because white collar crime often involves accusations against people in positions of public trust or well-known figures, charges can attract serious media attention. Once convicted of betraying the public, a defendant may never recover their career or rebuild their life.
Aggressive White Collar Crime Defense in Tampa
A person who is under investigation for a white collar crime must speak with an attorney immediately — even before they've been formally accused. If you are facing an investigation or charges, Thomas & Paulk may be able to help. We've served Tampa and all of Florida for more than 20 years, helping thousands of clients avoid the serious repercussions of criminal charges and convictions, including a wide range of white collar crimes.
At Thomas & Paulk, we aggressively defend clients who are facing charges involving business, financial, and political crimes. If our Tampa white collar crime attorneys take on your case, we will work tirelessly to challenge the prosecution's evidence against you, questioning the validity of how it was obtained and working to make sure it cannot be used against you in trial. Our goal is to achieve the best outcome possible in your case, which could mean dropped charges.
Seasoned Counsel Makes All the Difference
Because the media dissects accusations of bribery, extortion, or other white collar crimes, you need an attorney who has experience resolving these cases discreetly and quickly. A good defense lawyer isn't just your advocate in court, but in every arena you're under attack. That may include your workplace, the media, and even your family life. Thomas & Paulk has the experience and track record to defend every part of your life — legal or otherwise.
For a free and confidential case evaluation, call (813) 321-7323.
At any stage of your case, you can trust that our Tampa white collar crime lawyers at Thomas & Paulk have the know-how to make a difference. This is true even if no charges have been filed. Even in the investigatory phase, we can fight to protect your rights and freedom.
Common Florida White Collar Charges
Often, white collar crimes are committed by educated professionals in a position of influence and power. Due to their complex nature, the crimes themselves can be difficult for government agencies to prove. However, once the state has enough evidence, white collar crimes come with decades of prison time and millions in fines (depending on the charge).
White collar crimes include:
- Embezzlement: The misappropriation of funds. This occurs when someone in a position of trust (like a manager or accountant) begins to redirect or take the money for personal gain. This can often occur for long periods without detection.
- Extortion: Also called blackmail, extortion involves obtaining property or goods from another individual through unethical means. This may include force, threats, etc.
- Fraud: Fraud can be anything from counterfeiting to forgery. Frequent targets of fraud include taxes, banks, mail, and the Internet. Penalties for fraud may vary.
- Insider Trading: Involves leaking information regarding a company's stocks and value to sell the information or notify an individual who can take advantage of the information. Conviction comes with up to 20 years in prison and $5 million in fines.
- Tax Evasion: When people or companies act fraudulently to reduce or evade paying taxes. Citizens are required by law to pay federal and state taxes. While many people will reduce the amount they need to pay, it can lead to federal charges for tax evasion.
- Import/Export Crimes: Includes lying about the contents of a crate, false claims on import/export forms, smuggling, and importing illegal substances such as drugs or stolen vehicles. Import/export crimes are federal crimes and are severely penalized.
- Money Laundering: Money laundering is the act of passing illegitimately earned funds through a legitimate entity to mask their origin. Defendants may be accused of laundering money to hide profits from theft, robbery, tax fraud, drug sales, or more.
- Public Corruption: Charges of public corruption can include a variety of actions, including bribery, embezzlement of government funds, fraud, or extortion. Public corruption is a federal crime and will be prosecuted at the highest, harshest levels.
The following are additional examples of white collar crimes:
- Bank fraud
- Money laundering
- Securities fraud
- Check fraud
- Identity theft
- Healthcare fraud
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Government fraud
White collar crimes often involve sophisticated, complex transactions. Because of this, whistleblowers can be very helpful to the government agencies that investigate and prosecute the internal crimes committed within some of America's largest companies.
One of the Most Famous White Collar Crimes
One of the most notorious white collar criminals is Bernard Madoff, whose massive fraud scheme cost investors $65 billion.
After Madoff's elaborate Ponzi scheme led to his arrest, he was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 150 years in federal prison. In Madoff's scheme, he promised investors large returns on their investments. He was actually using the money from new investors to pay older investors instead of investing the funds as promised. Eventually, angered investors demanded their money back, and Madoff did not have the capital to repay them, which led to the discovery of his elaborate scheme and a one-way trip to federal prison.
Who Investigates & Prosecutes White Collar Crimes?
The FBI, the SEC, and IRS are just a few of the federal agencies that may investigate white collar crimes. Are all of these offenses prosecuted on the federal level? Not necessarily. White collar crimes are criminalized and prosecuted under both state and federal legislation, with the penalties generally being stiffer if prosecuted in the federal system.
For example, identity theft is illegal under state and federal law. As a state offense, the "criminal use of personal identification information" is criminalized under Sec. 817.568. So, in Florida, identity theft can be prosecuted as a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000. On the federal level, identity theft is criminalized under 18 U.S. Code Sec. 1028. The punishment for identity theft under federal law is a fine and up to 20 years in prison.
If a Florida resident is facing identity theft charges, which are illegal under both state and federal law, prosecutors will decide whether the defendant should be prosecuted in state or federal court. If the facts of the case are serious enough or involve a large amount of money, there is a strong possibility that the defendant will be prosecuted in federal court.
Bribery Charges in Tampa, FL
One of the most common white collar criminal charges is "bribery."
Under Florida law, bribery is the act of offering, promising, or agreeing to an exchange of money, services, or goods for influencing a public official's decision or performance of their duty. For example, "kickbacks" are a form of bribery. Like bribes, kickbacks occur when an official is offered a reward in exchange for someone's desired outcome. Kickbacks might help a person obtain knowledge they aren't supposed to have, place them in a position of influence, or help them obtain a contract.
Accused of a White Collar Crime in Tampa?
If you have been accused of or are under investigation for a white collar crime in the Tampa area, you could be facing state or federal charges. Due to the severity of your situation, you NEED a defense attorney who handles state and federal criminal defense.
Call Thomas & Paulk at (813) 321-7323 to work with former prosecutors who practice in the state and federal courts! We have more than 40 years of combined experience.
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