Over the years, Florida has cracked down on theft and white collar crimes. Typically, the crimes involve the specific intent to deprive someone or some agency of property or money. Intent may be proved by the circumstances surrounding the actions of the person charged or using other individuals involved in the offense. The government or state agency must prove specific intent, which, often, is very difficult to do.

Theft and white collar crimes may be prosecuted by a state or federal agency depending on the seriousness of the allegation, the amount of money or property involved and whether the offense is alleged to extend beyond state borders. Types of theft and white collar crimes include:

  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Forgery and Counterfeiting
  • Conspiracy
  • Bribery
  • Obstruction
  • Official Misconduct
  • Elder Abuse
  • Unlicensed Contracting
  • Grand Theft

White Collar Crimes Versus Conventional Street Crimes – Punishment

Historically, street crimes tend to get more public attention. The reason for this is that white collar crimes are often negotiated short of a jail sentence. The two are equally as serious, but payment of restitution to the victims of white collar crimes often supersedes the need for punishment in the form of jail or prison. Paying the victims back for their losses can sometimes lead the state or federal agency drop or reduce the charges. However, if you are accused of a theft or white collar crime it is never a good idea to attempt to negotiate with the “alleged” victim or a state or federal agency on your own behalf, without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Payment alone will not automatically ensure your freedom without a solid negotiation by an experienced attorney. Additionally, your actions may not constitute a crime and you may have legitimate legal defenses.

I Am Under Investigation for A Theft or White Collar Crime, Now What?

If you have been contacted by a state or federal agency, whether it is a prosecuting agency, law enforcement or a regulatory agency, you should contact an attorney immediately. Damage control should be your number one priority whether you believe you may have done something illegal or you are completely innocent. Do not attempt to navigate the process alone. The consequences can be devastating. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation to determine what your options are.

Theft & White Collar Crimes FAQs

Theft may be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the amount of money involved and what was stolen. Additionally, a misdemeanor theft may be enhanced to a felony regardless of the amount of money involved if you have been convicted of two prior thefts.

Score sheets are very complicated. The amount of money involved determines the degree of the crime and the level of the offense which ultimately dictates what an individual with a grand theft may score.

  • Grand theft: $300 – up to $5000 – level 2 offense – 3rd-degree felony
  • Grand theft: $5000 – up to $10,000 – level 3 offense – 3rd-degree felony
  • Grand theft: $10,000 – up to $20,000 – level 4 offense – 2nd-degree felony
  • Grand theft: $20,000 – up to $100,000 – level 6 offense – 2nd-degree felony
  • Grand theft: $100,000 or more – level 7 offense – 1st-degree felony

There are additional theft crimes that vary in degree and severity depending on what is stolen and who the money, services or items were stolen from.

White collar crime is a term used to describe a category of non-violent crimes involving theft of money, services or property. Typically, the crimes involve a large amount of money. If the crime involves multiple people in various geographical locations, the federal government may become involved.

Blue collar crimes usually involve the threat or use of violence.

There are various agencies that investigate federal crimes. The prosecuting agency is the United States Attorney’s Office. The investigating agencies are numerous. If you have been contacted by the FBI, the IRS, the SEC, Immigration, USPS or the Department of Treasury regarding any form of criminal activity, you should contact our office immediately. If you are not represented by an attorney, these agencies may continue to contact you. However, if you are represented by an attorney, all communications should be directed through your attorney. Do not provide any statements to any of the agencies as these statements can and usually will be used against you. Additionally, if you have been contacted to testify against another individual, you should consider consulting an attorney prior to giving a statement. It is crucial to be protected at every stage of the process and you can only do this if you are aware of your rights.

If you are being investigated for a white collar crime, seek the advice of an attorney immediately. The state or the federal government can prosecute you. If the case crosses state lines or international borders, the federal government is more likely to prosecute you.

A target letter is a letter sent to an individual to advise he or she is the target of a federal criminal investigation. The letter is sent by a federal prosecutor employed by the United States Attorney’s Office. The letter will advise you of the nature of the crime being investigated along with your basic rights such as the right to counsel and the right to a trial by jury. If you have received a target letter, seek legal counsel immediately as you are likely facing federal prosecution.

RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Typically, this Act deals with organized crime that usually involves a business. RICO may cover the criminal actions of one individual or several individuals. The penalties for crimes that fall under RICO are very severe thus it is extremely important to hire an experienced RICO attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation if you suspect you are under investigation for a RICO related crime. The RICO laws in Florida have expanded over the years and now encompass more criminal activity than the Act was originally meant to cover.

The attorney you hire must be a member of the federal courts. Not every criminal defense attorney is equipped to handle complex federal cases. Contact our office today for a free federal case evaluation.

The facts and circumstances drive the defense in each case. Some more common defenses to these types of criminal charges are entrapment and lack of intent. Entrapment is a commonly misunderstood defense. In order to assert an entrapment defense, you must show that a government or law enforcement agency induced you to commit a crime that you would not have otherwise committed had the government not induced you to do so. Lack of intent is just that, no intent to commit the crime. Do not confuse this with the “I didn’t know what I was doing was a crime” scenario as this is not a defense.





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