Economic crimes Florida, sometimes known as white-collar crimes, refers to a class of offenses involving trickery or deception to obtain property, money, or any other financial gain. These include crimes ranging from embezzlement and money laundering to fraud, forgery, and identity theft.
Both federal and state law enforcement agencies in Florida focus their energy on targeting lawbreakers, and any economic crime conviction could lead to harsh repercussions. Typically, financial crime lawsuits are complex. Therefore, you must be creative and pay attention to detail to build a solid defense.
Almost every white-collar crime attorney in Miami, Florida, will give you this assurance. Still, only a few can match the kind of legal services offered by Meltzer & Bell, P.A. Our practice comprises accomplished and experienced attorneys with an excellent reputation in handling complex matters within Florida’s courts.
Types of Economic Crimes Under Florida Law
Florida State laws consider different activities to be financial or economic crimes. These may be committed against companies, individuals, or government agencies. They include:
In Florida, a crime is treated as mortgage fraud if the accused makes any material misrepresentation or misstatement when applying for a mortgage. Giving false information regarding your income or employment falls in this category. Mortgage fraud is treated as a felony of the third degree but may upgrade to the second degree if the amount involved is beyond $100,000,
This economic crime means the defendant is accused of intentionally submitting incomplete, misleading, or false information to an insurance provider to defraud, deceive, or injure the company. The state laws note that the crime may involve any form of insurance, including life insurance, health insurance, auto insurance, and property insurance.
The accused may be a health practitioner or the insured individual submitting claims. The crime is a third-degree felony, but it could be a felony of the second degree in some situations.
Criminal Use of Personal Data
Using anyone’s personal identifying information (PII) without their permission to acquire any benefit fraudulently is considered a felony in Florida. The information may include their social security number, name, driver’s license, bank account number, or any other personal information.
If the crime involved more than 30 victims or the benefit is valued above $100,000, the accused will face a first-degree felony charge with a minimum of 10 years behind bars. If there were between 20 to 29 victims involved or the amount involved was above $50,000, it will be a felony of the first degree, attracting at least five years. Finally, an amount above $5,000 or 10 – 19 victims will draw a second-degree felony charge.
This crime involves falsely representing another person or oneself to acquire any financial gain or property, whether through identity theft or any other situation. The nature of the accusation and charges vary based on the amount obtained, ranging from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a first-degree felony.
Embezzlement involves the fraudulent acquisition of financial assets or property delegated to the accused. The item could be equipment, funds, or any resources belonging to an employer. The crime may also involve property or funds that the defendant managed for a homeowners’ association, club, nonprofit, or any other organization.
This economic crime is treated as theft under Florida laws. The greater the value of the item or funds that the prosecution can prove was misappropriated, the more severe the punishment will be. Charges in this lawsuit may range from a first-degree felony to a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Debit and Credit Card Fraud
This crime involves obtaining goods, services, money, or anything valuable using a debit card or credit card that has been stolen, forged, revoked, expired, or used without the cardholder’s authorization. This is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida law.
But if the card is used more than twice in a span of six months or was used to acquire over $100, the case will be now being treated as a third-degree felony. Trafficking cards, which entails selling stolen cards or forging credit cards or numbers, is treated as a second-degree felony.
Potential Penalties Economic Crime in Florida
Most Florida state laws recommend a substantial monetary fine and/or a prison sentence for economic offenses. But, contrary to the common misconception, a white-collar crime conviction doesn’t earn you an “easy jail time” in a comfortable minimum-security correctional facility.
Suppose you’re accused of a white-collar crime. In that case, there’s no assurance that you will serve in a minimum security lock-up, and there’s certainly no guarantee that the “accommodation” will be comfortable in any way. Thus, several vital questions come into play when determining the actual penalty of the crime, including:
- What’s the nature of the alleged crime?
- How many victims were involved?
- What’s the value of the alleged theft?
- What are the victims’ identities? (i.e., vulnerable individuals, government institutions)
- What’s the defendant’s criminal history like?
- How strong is your defense as presented by your economic crimes lawyer?
- How strong are your mitigating circumstances?
For instance, if you commit a worthless checks offense, this will either be considered a misdemeanor of first degree or a third-degree felony. Both will attract up to a year in jail or up to five years behind bars, respectively.
On the other hand, if your crime involves the identity theft of dozens of victims, you’ll likely face a first- or second-degree felony. This could attract a maximum of 15 – 20 years behind bars. But your crime’s circumstances may also result in a third-degree misdemeanor conviction that leads to less jail time or none at all.
Suppose you committed an aggravated economic crime in Florida and obtained or attempted to acquire an amount above $50,000. In that case, the case will be treated as a first-degree felony, and you could face up to 30 years behind bars.
You’re in Safe Hands
Immediate action is essential if you’ve come under suspicion, been contacted to provide information or have been arrested for suspicion of involvement in an economic crime. You need a reliable attorney with vast experience in white-collar crimes to help you establish a solid defense and win the case or reduce the sentence if you’re found guilty.
Fortunately, you don’t have to search anymore. Meltzer & Bell, P.A, your trusted Economic crimes Florida attorney, is here to help you with the case at hand, protecting your rights throughout the process and working to achieve a favorable case outcome.