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Coral Gables Federal Defense Lawyer

Expert criminal attorneys for complex federal charges

A federal criminal charge requires top-tier legal representation. Not only do federal crimes have more severe sentencing, but they are prosecuted by the top attorneys in the country. If you have been accused of a federal crime, you need the support and legal counsel of a top-tier Coral Gables federal defense lawyer. Joffe Law represents people who have been accused of serious federal offenses. Our dedicated team will go the extra mile to defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

Coral Gables federal offenses

Most criminal cases in Florida are adjudicated in state court. The federal government will only prosecute cases that have certain characteristics. A criminal matter may be adjudicated in federal court if:

  • the case involves a government official
  • the criminal activity occurred on government property
  • the criminal activity crossed state lines
  • the criminal activity crossed an international border
  • the criminal activity involved a federal agency

Federal cases often involve complex matters that require the expertise of an experienced attorney who is thoroughly familiar with the federal court process. David Joffe’s proven track record in federal criminal matters sets him apart from other defense attorneys in Coral Gables.

Who investigates federal crimes

Law enforcement agencies exist at all levels of government, including local towns and cities, counties, and states. The federal government is no exception. There are several federal government agencies that investigate criminal cases that land within the federal government’s jurisdiction. Some well-known examples of federal law enforcement agencies are:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Federal law enforcement agencies often work together to gather evidence in criminal cases. It is also not uncommon for the federal government to work with state and local governments to investigate and prosecute large-scale criminal operations.

Federal white collar criminal offenses

White collar crimes generally involve the execution of a deceptive scheme for financial gain. Because these crimes are often based on schemes that target people in multiple jurisdictions, white collar offenses can often be prosecuted at the state and federal level. Some of the cases our Coral Gables white collar crime attorneys handle include:

  • fraud
  • insider Trading
  • embezzlement
  • Ponzi schemes
  • insider trading
  • racketeering

You don’t have to be the mastermind behind a fraudulent scheme to be charged for a federal white collar offense. Sometimes people unknowingly become participants in illegal activity. Our team will help you clear your name if you have been wrongfully accused of a white collar crime.

Just Arrested in Coral Gables?
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.

Fraud investigations in Coral Gables

There are several different types of fraud that can trigger a federal criminal charge. Fraud is generally described as a scheme in which the fraudster makes a false representation with the goal of accessing someone else’s money or property. Some of the most common types of fraud are:

  • bank fraud
  • mortgage fraud
  • securities fraud
  • insurance fraud
  • mail fraud
  • wire fraud

Some fraudulent schemes are simple while others are elaborate and involve multiple players. If you have been accused of fraud, our federal fraud defense attorney is available to review the facts of your case.

CORAL GABLES BANK FRAUD CASES

Bank fraud is any deceptive scheme that involves a financial institution. State and federal laws against bank fraud apply to banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, and similar entities. Fraudulent schemes against financial institutions can take many different forms.

Payment card fraud occurs when someone gains unauthorized access to someone else’s bank account through deceptive activity. Fraudsters access victims’ accounts by:

  • physically stealing victims’ credit cards
  • using telemarketing schemes to get victims to provide personal details
  • tricking victims into visiting fake bank websites through phishing schemes
  • obtaining personal data by stealing victims’ mail

Once the fraudster has the victim’s personal data, he or she can open new accounts in the victim’s name or access the victim’s existing accounts and make transactions. In some cases, credit card fraudsters purchase stolen account information from identity theft rings.

Scammers sometimes use a bank’s call center to gain unauthorized access to a customer’s account. When a fraudster calls the call center, he or she may trick the call center agent by pretending to be the customer. If the fraudster has partial information such as the customer’s date of birth, ZIP code, or the last four digits of the person’s Social Security Number, the call center rep may be sufficiently convinced to grant access to the customer’s account.

MORTGAGE FRAUD CASES

Mortgage fraud occurs when someone provides false information during the process of getting a mortgage loan to purchase real estate. Cases that involve mortgage fraud are classified into one of two categories: fraud for profit and fraud for housing.

Fraud for profit occurs when a mortgage industry insider provides false information in the interest of deriving a profit from a real estate transaction. The mortgage insider may be:

  • a loan officer
  • a real estate agent or broker
  • a real estate appraiser

Mortgage industry insiders often work together and share the profits from mortgage fraud. For example, a real estate agent, mortgage officer, and appraiser will work together to inflate the value of a property. Once a buyer pays the inflated price, the industry insiders will share the illegal proceeds.

Fraud for housing happens when an applicant provides false information to get approved or to receive a larger loan amount. Information applicants are more likely to falsify include:

  • the applicant’s name
  • employment information
  • income
  • assets

A common scheme investors use is the straw buyer scheme. The investor will have someone else apply for a loan to buy a property. The applicant deceives the bank by stating he or she will use the property as a personal residence. After the transaction closes, the applicant transfers the property to the investor. The straw buyer scheme allows investors to illegally obtain the more favorable interest rates banks give to applicants who will personally occupy the property.

SECURITIES FRAUD

Securities fraud occurs when someone makes a misrepresentation with the objective of influencing investors’ decisions. Depending on the facts of the case, a broker, financial business leader, or speculator may be charged with securities fraud if he or she intentionally misleads investors.

Insider trading is an example of securities fraud. People who work for a corporation are prohibited from trading the company’s stocks based on insider information that is not available to the public. Otherwise, allowing insider trading would give people who are closely affiliated with the corporation an unfair advantage over everyone else who wants to trade the company’s stock. One of the most popular insider trading cases involved home and garden mogul Martha Stewart.

INSURANCE FRAUD CASES

Insurance agents, policyholders, appraisers, and uninvolved third parties can be prosecuted for insurance fraud. One of the most basic forms of insurance fraud is filing a false claim. A false claim may refer to a fictitious event that never happened, or it may overstate the value of a loss. In other cases, fraudsters stage events like fires or car accidents to receive a payout from their insurance company for damage they intentionally caused.

When an insurance customer works with an insurance agent, it is the agent’s responsibility to collect premium payments and forward the payments to the insurance company. Agents are required to maintain a separate bank account that is specifically designated for holding customer premiums. A fraudulent real estate agent will divert customer premiums into a personal account. The customers generally do not learn of the fraud until they realize their policy has lapsed due to unpaid premiums.

Third-party fraudsters pose as representatives from insurance companies and sell fake policies to unsuspecting victims. Depending on the nature of the scheme, the agent may appear to represent a legitimate insurance company but sell fake insurance products. In other variations, the fraudster may pretend to represent a fictitious insurance company and sell an insurance product that is legitimately offered by real insurance companies.

MAIL FRAUD CASES

Mail fraud can be a standalone offense, but it is also added on to white collar cases as the federal mail fraud statute is broad in scope. An individual may be charged with mail fraud if he or she uses the postal service to operate a fraudulent scheme. Examples of ways in which fraudsters illegally use the mail system include:

  • sending advertisements or other solicitations to potential victims through the mail
  • requesting victims return documents through the mail
  • sending signed contracts receipts through the mail
  • conducting fraudulent mail order schemes

The federal mail fraud statute is not limited to activities that involve the U.S. Mail. Individuals may be charged with mail fraud if they use private postal carriers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL in operating a fraudulent scheme.

FEDERAL WIRE FRAUD

Similar to mail fraud, the federal wire fraud statute allows federal prosecutors to bring charges against anyone who uses wired means of communication to advance a fraudulent scheme. With the advancement of digital technology, federal courts have interpreted the wire fraud statute to include digital communication mechanisms. An individual may be charged with wire fraud if he or she uses the following methods of communication to advance a fraudulent scheme:

  • telephone
  • Fax machine
  • email
  • text message
  • instant messaging
  • social medial account
  • Web-based message forum
  • chat room

Wire fraud can be as direct as using a wire transfer service to defraud people out of money or as indirect as contacting potential fraud victims through social media. A Florida federal crimes defense attorney can advise you if you are under investigation for wire fraud.

Federal embezzlement cases in Coral Gables

Embezzlement is the legal term for a simple concept. The simplest example of embezzlement is a treasurer stealing money from an organization. Embezzlement differs from theft in that the person who steals the money or property must have had access to the money or property due to his or her position. Another element of embezzlement is the individual must have intended to deprive the property owner of the enjoyment of the property. Therefore, a valet worker who takes a customer’s car for a ride around the city and returns the car in time to give it back to the owners is not necessarily guilty of embezzlement.

Florida Ponzi scheme scandals

Ponzi schemes make for some of the most scintillating headlines and documentaries. Perhaps the biggest red flag that points to a Ponzi scheme is when a fraudster approaches a potential victim with an “investment secret” that promises an unusually high return. In most cases, there is no actual investment. The scammer collects money from the unsuspecting victims while encouraging the victims to recruit more people to invest in the fund. Next, the scammer will typically use money collected from the earliest investors to pay what appears to be returns to the first group of investors. After making an initial payment to give the appearance of legitimacy, the scammer uses the rest of the money to fund his or her lifestyle. Eventually, the victims realize they no longer receive payouts from the fake investment. By the time most people discover the scam, the fraudster has left town and no longer responds to emails and phone calls.

It is not uncommon for scammers to rent out offices and hire employees to make their illegal operation appear to be a legal business. Employees may be unaware that their employer is a fraudster. Nevertheless, people who work for organizations that operate Ponzi schemes may find themselves under investigation. If you believe you may be working for an illegal organization, protect yourself by contacting a Coral Gables legal defense lawyer.

Racketeering defense in South Florida

Racketeering has reemerged as a popular topic in the media. People are often surprised to learn that the federal government can charge people who play very small roles in a criminal organization with racketeering. Under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970, a federal court may convict a defendant on a RICO charge if he or she:

  • participated in an illegal enterprise
  • committed two or more related criminal acts
  • committed the minimum number of related crimes within the federal statute of limitations

Prosecutors may also charge individuals who knowingly collect, spend, or invest the illegal proceeds of a criminal organization. RICO investigations are intensely thorough, and they often span multiple years. If you are under investigation for involvement with a criminal organization, you should immediately retail legal counsel.

David Joffe represents individuals in South Florida who have been accused of a federal crime. If you are looking for proven, competent legal representation for a federal case, contact Joffe Law today.

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