What collar crime, as defined in F.S. 775.0844(3), is a conspiracy to commit or the commission of any felony offense as specified in the listed chapters that relate to theft or fraudulent practices.
In more general terms, it is understood as non-violent offenses committed for financial gain. Its moniker is derived from the idea that it was usually “white collar workers” – managers, business owners, bankers, government workers, lawyers, doctors and other professionals – who were the culprits. That’s why they have sometimes been referred to as “economic crime,” “avocational crime,” “upperworld crime,” “crimes of the powerful and “abuse of the power.”
The Fort Lauderdale white collar criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Richard Ansara know these offenses are tackled by increasingly well-funded and adept law enforcement agencies with economic crimes units at both the state and federal levels.
Although no one may be physically harmed by the alleged acts, the Florida Legislature took note of the economic, psychological and emotional upheaval on victims – particularly the elderly, who are frequent targets. These actions often involve substantial sums of money, and punished more severely than an average theft case.
Examples of white collar theft crime may include:
The White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act, enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2001 response to an onslaught of these crimes, takes into account how many people were affected, the amount of the funds stolen and how greatly people were harmed. The Office of the State Attorney for the Tenth Judicial Circuit explains these crimes involve:
These offenses are spelled out specifically in:
Meanwhile, “aggravated white collar crimes” under the act involve:
In many situations, individuals who commit these crimes are ordinary folks who make uncharacteristically impetuous or poor decisions. They aren’t necessarily trying to hurt anyone, but they may see the opportunity as a way out of a tight financial spot.
There are a number of effective defenses that can be asserted. An experienced white collar defense attorney with significant experience in strategic handling of the complex legal issues involved ensures the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.Penalties for White Collar Crime in Florida
Most laws authorize a prison sentence and/or a substantial monetary fine for white collar offenses in Florida. There is a common myth that those convicted of white collar crimes do “easy time,” in comfortable minimum-security prisons There is no guarantee that sentences will be served in minimum security lock-ups, and there is definitely no assurance that those “accommodations” are going to be in any way comfortable.
The actual penalty will depend heavily on:
For example, committing a worthless checks crime, per F.S. 832.05, is either a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, or a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Meanwhile, if you commit identity theft on dozens of people, you could be facing a second- or first-degree felony, punishable by maximums of between 15 and 30 years in prison. However, the circumstances of the crime may only result in conviction of a third-degree misdemeanor, which could mean little to no jail time at all.
If someone commits an aggravated white collar crime and obtains or attempts to obtain $50,000 or more, it is considered a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.