White Collar Crime Defense Attorney in Naples
Collier County, Florida federal criminal attorneys on your side
Accusations of white collar crimes against individuals in the area of Naples, Florida, frequently involve federal prosecution. Many types of criminal offenses related to financial activities fall under the umbrella of white collar crimes. Although these are nonviolent offenses, they carry serious penalties that include prison, fines and payment of restitution to victims. Many cases involve complex layers of financial transactions. Forensic accounting and the full attention of a Naples white collar crime lawyer will likely be needed to form a viable defense strategy.
People who commit white collar crimes seek financial gain through illegal transactions, including theft, tax evasion, securities fraud or misappropriation of funds. Accused people often have direct control of the money or assets involved as part of their work duties or business ownership. As the name implies, defendants in white collar criminal cases tend to be people in professional-level business or government jobs. However, any employees, like bookkeepers and cashiers, can be in a position to commit these financial crimes. Outside actors using computers to commit fraud may also stand accused of white collar crimes. A few examples are:
- corporate officers or employees
- accountants and bookkeepers
- managers and cashiers
- public officials and employees
- investment managers
- nonprofit organization managers
- computer hackers
A common white collar crime in Collier County is property fraud. This occurs when people create fraudulent property records, like deeds or mortgages. They use the false documentation to convince people to rent or buy properties that they do not really own. The county has created a notification alert system that Naples area property owners can use to monitor property records.
Sentencing guidelines, especially at the federal level, call for serious penalties. Prison terms can range from 3 to 20 years. Fines of $25,000 to $250,000 are common, and they can rise into the millions of dollars for some insider trading convictions.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Types of white collar offenses
Federal criminal law applies to money laundering. This offense requires a willful attempt to hide the source of illegally obtained money and transform it into apparently legal income on paper. People accomplish this by placing illegal funds into the financial system under the guise of a legitimate source, like a business. Many money laundering methods exist, but they all share the purpose of masking the source of money through one or more financial transactions. The illegal money can come from countless activities, including:
- drug trafficking
- wire and mail fraud
RICO and racketeering
Additional federal or state charges arising from the Racketeer Influenced or Corrupt Organizations Act and other racketeering laws may threaten some accused individuals. These charges occur when investigators detect a pattern of criminal activity related to white collar crimes, like money laundering, insider trading, or fraud, as well as other criminal offenses. Racketeering convictions can increase prison time and fines on top of penalties for related crimes.
A company president shifting company revenue into a personal bank account is an example of embezzlement. The offense can take other forms, but the law defines it as the theft or misappropriation of funds or assets that an organization entrusted to an employee or official. The state prosecutes some embezzlement cases, but the federal government prosecutes people involved in alleged crimes aimed at federal agencies or their contractors.
Bribery laws apply to people offering bribes, public officials, court witnesses or jurors. Prosecutors may charge both the person who offered or paid a bribe and the person who solicited or accepted a bribe. Any attempt to influence a public official’s execution of duties with the payment of money, assets or other valuables could result in bribery accusations.
Even people who earn legitimate income from a job, business or investment may be accused of tax evasion. Unreported illegal income could also result in charges of tax evasion. The offense arises from the willful avoidance of taxation by under-reporting income, falsifying employee tax forms, failing to file tax returns or taking deductions and credits when meeting qualifications.
Insider trading & securities fraud
Federal law defines this crime as buying or selling a security based on material information that was not available to the public. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission monitors trades to detect suspicious activity. Anyone from wealthy corporate officers to individual investors could find themselves targeted by a SEC investigation.
The Internet has enabled countless criminals to engage in computer crimes. This is a large category of criminal activity that includes:
- harassment, cyber bullying and cyber stalking
- spamming and phishing
- identity theft
- child pornography possession and distribution
- soliciting a minor
- various fraud schemes
- copyright and trademark infringement
- money laundering
- defense strategies
Criminal codes spell out the criteria for proving guilt for each type of criminal offense. Defense attorneys work to expose weak areas in evidence so that a prosecutor’s claim cannot fully meet the criteria.
- Someone accused of tax evasion might argue that he or she only made errors and did not intend to avoid taxes.
- A person caught up in a money laundering scheme may not have known that a transaction involved illegal money.
- A racketeering conviction relies on proving that someone authorized other crimes, and the evidence may fall short of doing that.
White collar crime legal defense in Naples
Joffe Law, P.A. has a legal team prepared to research appropriate defense strategies for people accused of white collar crimes. We possess a thorough understanding of federal and state criminal statutes. This knowledge enables us to challenge prosecutors with insufficient evidence and protect the rights of our clients. Any individuals under investigation for white collar crimes should reach out to our office for a free consultation as soon as possible.