Miami White Collar Attorney
White-collar crime is surprisingly common. The FBI deals with hundreds of cases each year, and Florida is a hot spot for these crimes. It’s estimated that for every 10,000 people in Miami, there are more than 4,200 white-collar crimes committed.
In a city like Miami and a state like Florida, often serious crimes like murder, assault, and robberies get most of the press coverage. But white-collar crimes are more common, and in most cases, affect more people than these violent crimes. White-collar crimes can affect the financial wellbeing and character of entire groups of people.
If you’ve been convicted of a white-collar crime, you will be relentlessly pursued and investigated by local, state, and federal groups. In times like these, you need competent and aggressive representation. The Kirlew Law Firm can help protect your rights and defend you in court.
What is White-Collar Crime?
White Collar crimes generally refer to non-violent offenses that are committed for financial gain. These offenses can often become complicated matters involving mountains of documents and evidence. An arrest or conviction of a white-collar crime can also lead to swift and overwhelming consequences including seizure of bank accounts, forfeiture of your home, and the stripping of professional licenses/accreditation. Most importantly, the conviction of white-collar crimes usually involved lengthy prison sentences.
The government vigorously prosecutes individuals suspected of white-collar crimes and often utilizes the FBI, IRS and Secret Service in their investigations. Many local police departments also have grant money from the federal government to identify and investigate white-collar criminal activity. Investigating, arresting and seizing the assets of professionals and entrepreneurs are big business for the government. They are relentless in their efforts and you need to be protected with an experienced Miami white-collar crime attorney.
In addition to State White Collar crime, we also represent clients charged with Federal White Collar crimes, which are regulated by Titles 18 and 26 of the United States Code. Some of these federal offenses include:
- Antitrust violation – Antitrust laws were established to protect trade and commerce from abusive practices. Violations can include price-fixing, price discrimination, restraints, and monopolization.
- Computer and internet fraud – This form of white-collar crime is increasingly common as more people use computers, phones, and other internet-enabled devices to commit acts of fraud, hacking, extortion, and theft.
- Identity theft – Thieves take personal information to access banking and financial accounts, make purchases, open utility accounts, or steal tax refunds. In some cases, an identity thief may even use a false identity during an arrest.
- Credit card fraud – This white-collar crime occurs when a thrift utilizes a stolen credit card or other information from that account to make unauthorized purchases. In some cases, they may use the stolen information to take out cash advances against the account.
- Phone and telemarketing fraud – The illicit selling of fake goods or services over the phone. Many phone scams are framed as a giveaway, or free offer in exchange for sensitive information, like access to banking or credit card accounts.
- Bankruptcy fraud – Often paired with another form of fraud, bankruptcy fraud can be the concealment of assets to prevent forfeiting them, filing incomplete or false forms, filing multiple times in different locations using fake or forged documents, and bribing of court-appointed trustees.
- Healthcare fraud – Largely committed by organized crime groups, this form of fraud includes performing unnecessary procedures to bill an insurance company, billing for services that were never rendered, and billing every step of one procedure as if they were individual procedures.
- Environmental law violations – Environmental law makes actions like the illegal disposal of waste, improper storage of hazardous materials, or failure to comply with EPA and state regulations illegal.
- Insurance fraud – An act committed to defraud an insurance company is considered a white-collar crime. This could include attempting to obtain benefits or advantages that an individual is not entitled to or when an insurer denies benefits that someone is due.
- Mail fraud – One of the most common forms of fraud, mail fraud is when the USPS or private carrier is used to commit a crime of deceit. This could be to obtain money or to sell and distribute illicit goods.
- Wire and bank fraud – These forms of fraud start with a scheme to steal or obtain financial information by using false representation or promises of goods and services in return.
- Money laundering and racketeering (RICO) – Crimes committed through extortion and coercion are considered racketeering. Generally, a racketeer obtains money or goods from someone using intimidation tactics or force.
- Government fraud – Largely connected to federal government contracting or federally-funded programs, government fraud might involve public housing, agricultural programs, corporate subsidies, and bribery.
- Tax evasion – This form of white-collar crime is the deliberate failure to pay your taxes or the underpayment of the taxes you owe. It can be underreporting of income, overreporting of deductions, or improperly claiming tax credits and exemptions.
- Securities fraud – Also called investment fraud, securities fraud involves misrepresenting the information that investors use to make financial decisions.
- Insider trading – This is the trading of the stock or securities of a public company that is based on non-public information about the company. This is the profiteering of information based on a company’s assets.
- Bribery – A bribe is the giving or receiving of something of value in order to influence the actions of another person or group.
- Kickbacks – A kickback is a bribe that’s paid in increments as the contractor or agreement is carried out.
- Public corruption – The major focus of the FBI, public corruption covers a variety of crimes, including the violation of federal law by public officials, fraud related to the procurement, contracts, and funding of federal programs, and other crimes that are related to local, state, and federal governments.
- Money laundering – This form of white-collar crime involves concealing the origin of illegally obtained money, usually by transferring funds through foregin entities or legitimate businesses.
- Embezzlement – By withholding assets, funds, or goods from an employer or business partner, you are committing an act of embezzlement.
- Economic espionage – Generally sponsored by foreign entities or outside corporations, economic espionage can target the U.S. government, U.S. companies, or other establishments and institutions. Economic espionage is the unlawful obtaining of financial information.
- Trade secret theft – Trade secrets are the information or assets that give a company an advantage over others in the market. The theft of these assets is when someone uses this information without consent of the business.
How are white collar crimes investigated?
In almost every federal white-collar criminal investigation, the federal agents and local police officers involved in the case shadow their suspects for months and even years. They utilize wire taps, subpoenaed bank records, video tape conversations and meetings, property and asset, business records and cooperating witnesses. The agents often seek to make pre-indictment deals with codefendants or coworkers who they threaten to charge if they don’t talk.
The feds have unlimited resources and they are extremely patient in their investigations. Many times, an agent will get so committed to an investigation that they bend the rules, alleged they witnessed activity that they didn’t and innocent people get wrapped up in the conspiracy that they knew nothing about. This is why it is critical to contact a Miami white-collar attorney the moment you suspect you are the target of a white-collar criminal investigation. With the help of our investigators and forensic accountants, we can often mitigate the exposure a client may face in a while collar criminal prosecutor.
How White Collar Crime in Miami is Punished
Generally, white-collar crime is investigated and prosecuted by federal authorities. This means that white-collar crime cases have higher conviction rates than other crimes. Federal prosecutors are able to leverage more resources to pursue a white-collar crime case, and are encouraged to close the case quickly.
The punishment for a white-collar crime varies based on what level the crime is being prosecuted at, whether state or federal, and the amount of money involved in the crime. There are no set guidelines that dictate the severity of penalty based on the amount of money stolen; however, generally, larger amounts are punished more severely.
Since the 2002 and 2008 financial crises, there have been more penalties and convictions for white-collar crimes, and as such, penalties have become more severe. On average, a sentence for money laundering is about 48 months in prison. Those convicted of bribery could face 16 months, and those for fraud, 12 months. Tax offenses generally result in 16 months of jail time.
When You Should Hire an Attorney When Convicted of a White Collar Crime?
Given the harsh nature of the penalties for white-collar crimes, and that these investigations are often led by federal authorities, it’s vital that you hire an attorney in Miami as soon as you’re convicted. In some cases, defendants are only made aware of the investigation just a few weeks or months before an arrest is made. It’s important to use any lead time you may have to build a case with an attorney.
While your attorney can’t stop an investigation, they can work with you to defend your rights before, during, and after the trial. If nothing else, it’s extremely important that you have a legal representative with you whenever you deal with a federal investigator or while you’re being questioned.
Why You Need a Competent Attorney
When you work with a skilled criminal defense attorney like those at the Kirlew Law Firm, they’ll maintain clear lines of communication with the prosecution throughout your investigation. This could lead to a favorable negotiation before any arrests are made or the formal prosecution starts.
More than just negotiations, a competent white-collar crime attorney can help draft legal defenses that can help your case. Our attorneys can cross-examine witnesses, manage information about the case, and challenge physical exhibits and financial records that may be used to seal your case. Ultimately, a talented attorney like Brian Kirlew can find small inconsistencies or faults in the prosecution in order to bolster your defense.
Contact a Miami White Collar Criminal Attorney today!
If you are being investigated for a White Collar crime at the state or federal level (or both), the sooner you get a qualified attorney on your side to protect your rights, the better. Brian Kirlew, Esq. is experienced and skilled at handling these complex and sensitive matters, and is here to represent you in court.