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Florida’s White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act

We’ve all heard of white collar crime.  We may not know precisely what it means, but we know it usually involves high-level executives and politicians. Sometimes the phrase can convey a sense that the punishment for these crimes is not as stringent as that for other, more violent crimes – that white collar offenders serve minimal time in so-called “country club” low security prisons.  In fact, white collar crime in Florida is punished severely, and if you are facing charges for these kinds of offenses, you need a trusted legal advocate to protect your rights in and out of court.

What is white collar crime?

There is no accepted legal definition of white collar crime.  According to the FBI, the term has been around since 1939 and encompasses “lying, cheating, stealing . . . the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals.”  Generally, it is used to refer to nonviolent crimes committed by business executives or elected officials.  These are some examples:

  • Fraud and misrepresentation of all kinds – Ponzi schemes, insurance fraud, check fraud, Medicare or Medicaid fraud, identity theft, a variety of other Internet crimes, and more.
  • Embezzlement, which covers the theft or misuse of funds by someone to whom they were entrusted.
  • Tax evasion, which can violate both state and federal laws, is the illegal avoidance of tax liabilities.
  • Money laundering, which involves concealing money’s illegal origins through businesses to make it appear as though it has a legal source.
  • Forgery and counterfeiting.
  • Bribery.
  • Racketeering, which includes conspiring to organize to engage in criminal activity.

Florida’s White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act

The Florida legislature takes a very dim view of white collar crime, so much so that it enacted a special law enhancing the degree of offense and the severity of available penalties under certain circumstances.  Known as the White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act, the law’s stated purpose is to “enhance the sanctions imposed for nonviolent crimes and swindles, protect the public’s property, and assist in prosecuting white collar criminals.” The Act applies to a laundry list of crimes, including those described above.  An individual commits “aggravated white collar crime” if he commits at least two of the enumerated offenses that have “the same or similar intent, results, accomplices, victims, or methods of commission” or are otherwise interrelated and not isolated incidents.

Aggravated white collar crime that victimizes ten or more elderly persons, twenty or more persons (apparently of any age), or the state of Florida, and attempts to obtain $50,000 or more is a first degree felony, which is punishable by up to thirty years in prison.  In addition to the existing penalties for first degree felonies, the Act requires a person convicted of white collar crime to pay fines, court costs, and restitution to all victims.

Consult an Orlando white collar crime lawyer

If you are or may be facing white collar crime charges, it is a serious matter.  You may face significant prison time and large fines, not to mention damage to your career and reputation. The Orlando white collar crime lawyers of The Baez Law Firm have experience defending clients facing a wide range of high-profile charges throughout the state.  We understand the seriousness of these charges and will provide you with an aggressive defense both within and outside the courtroom.  Contact us for a consultation today.

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