White collar crimes are non-violent crimes that are committed for financial gain. There are several types of white collar crimes, including:
- Bank fraud: A bank fraud describes using illegal means to obtain money or other assets held by a financial institution. It can also refer to obtaining money from people by posing as a financial institution. Some examples of bank fraud include stolen checks, check forgery, fraudulent loans, counterfeiting, identity theft, and ATM fraud.
- Securities fraud or insider trading: This is an illegal practice in the stock or commodities market that induces an investor to buy or sell stocks or commodities based on false information. One example is the promise of a high yield investment while claiming that there is little or no risk. Insider trading is trading shares in the stock market based on information about a company that is not known by the public.
- Wire fraud: Wire fraud describes a crime where there is a scheme to obtain money based on untrue promises. A component of the crime will include some form of electronic communications, such as a fax, email, or text, or an interstate communications facility. A pyramid scheme is an example of wire fraud.
- Mail fraud: Mail fraud occurs when the US mail system is used in an illegal act. A common example of mail fraud is sending someone a lesser version of a product they ordered. For example, if someone orders a Versace dress online, and someone sends them a fraudulent version, that constitutes mail fraud.
- Medicare fraud: Medicare fraud describes obtaining money from the federal government that you are not entitled to have. An example may be a doctor’s office that bills Medicare for products or services that were never completed.
- Health care fraud: Health care fraud may involve filing claims for services that were never rendered, forging receipts or bills, or using another person’s insurance to get medical benefits.
- Conspiracy: Conspiracy charges occur when there is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime at some time in the future and steps are taken to make the conspiracy a reality.
- Drug conspiracy: In a drug conspiracy, there is an agreement between two or more people to violate a federal drug law.
- Federal firearms offenses: Federal law regulates the purchase, possession, and use of firearms. Offenses include selling a firearm to a prohibited person, unlawfully owning a firearm, or having a firearm connected to a crime such as robbery or murder.
The Components of a Fraud Case
Defrauding an institution means that you intentionally misrepresented the facts through your words or behavior for financial gain which resulted in harm to the victim of the fraud. There are specific components to a fraud case, including:
- Making a false statement of material fact;
- Knowing that the statement was false;
- Making the statement intentionally;
- The victim believing the statement; and
- The victim losing money or assets as a result of the statement.
In some fraud cases, such as mail fraud or wire fraud, the government does not need to prove 1) that the defendant intended to defraud or 2) that the fraud affected any victims.
A Fort Lauderdale white collar crime lawyer can help you determine what the government needs to establish to prove you guilty and then build a robust case in your defense.
Penalties for White Collar Crimes
The Florida White Collar Crime Prevention Act specifies the type of punishment you will receive if you are convicted of a white collar offense.
Common penalties include:
- Restitution of funds to the victim
- Community confinement
- Supervised release
- Paying court costs and fines
Example Sentence for Wire Fraud
If you are convicted of wire fraud, you face fines and 20 years behind bars. If the fraud affected a financial institution, you face 30 years behind bars and up to $1 million in fines.
Example Sentence for Health Care Fraud
If you are convicted of health care fraud, you face 10 years behind bars. If the fraud resulted in “serious bodily injury,” you face up to 20 years behind bars. In either case, you can also face fines.
Regardless of the type of fraud, you could face a decade or more in prison and lose tens of thousands of dollars.
Fraud Charges Can Devastate Your Life
Fraud charges generally involve long and complicated investigations. The penalties can be harsh because the government takes fraud seriously. Even just one charge can be detrimental. You may lose your job and find that people are not willing to hire someone who has a fraud charge in their past.
Get Help Defending Against Your White Collar Crime Charge Today
If you have been charged with committing fraud or any other white collar crime, it can be adjudicated as a civil and criminal offense. The type of crime you allegedly committed will determine your sentence. For example, you may face lesser charges for a single instance of bank fraud than for weapons charges.
Prosecutors can charge you with a large number of offenses, so having an white collar crime attorney that can help you navigate the system is helpful. You can also face aggravated charges if this is not your first offense or if you allegedly defrauded more than one person.
This can be a scary experience, but you do not need to handle it alone. A lawyer can help you protect your future and your reputation. Contact a personal injury law firm in Florida from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato at (954) 633-8270 for a free case evaluation. We know what to do to help you defend your rights if you have been charged with a white collar crime. Do not wait to have an white collar crime lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale on your side.