Category Archives: White Collar Crimes

Florida Extortion Law: Everything You Need to Know

Florida Extortion white collar crime

Protecting yourself from threats and extortion, or defending yourself from accusations of such crimes, requires at least a basic understanding of Florida Extortion Law. Knowing the gist of the  Florida’s Extortion Statute on threats and extortion will help you navigate your own case.

Florida Extortion, Defined

What defines extortion? First, it’s important to understand that extortion falls under “white-collar collar crime.” This term is a general and informal classification for non-violent offenses committed for financial gain. If the threat is carried out and it involves some form of violence, the case becomes a hybrid of a violent crime and a white-collar crime.

Extortion itself revolves around the use of coercion and threat to unlawfully collect money, property, or service from another person. The threat may come in the form of action or inaction, and it should be significant enough to overcome the victim’s free will (hence, the element of coercion). Extortion is also known as blackmail.

The 2018 Florida Statutes outline extortion in the chapter on “Defamation; Libel; Threatening Letters and Similar Offenses.” Under statute 836.05, extortion is defined by “intent to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatsoever.” There must be proof of a verbal or written threat that the defendant made.

Examples of Extortion

There are many ways a threat can be carried out to coerce a victim into doing something against their own will. The Florida Extortion Statute outlines the following as examples of threat or leverage:

  • Physical harm, e.g., violent attack, demanding something at gunpoint, death
  • Psychological harm
  • Reveal of a secret
  • An accusation of a crime, e.g., a defendant accused the victim of a crime they did or did not commit
  • Harm a person’s reputation, e.g., defendant threatened to spread malicious rumors, fabricated photographs

These examples of extortion include both lawful and unlawful acts. As long as the actions are with the intent to coerce someone else, they can be proved as malicious. The defendant does not need to have actually received any money or service for the threat to count as extortion.

Lastly, current extortion laws do not require any of these examples of extortion actually to be carried out. For example, the mere act of expressing the intent of violence, without actually committing any physical harm, already counts towards malicious intent showing extortion. Likewise, the defendant does not need to have the ability to perform the threatened act for the threat to qualify.

Penalties for Extortion

Extortion in Florida is a second-degree felony. Convicted persons face up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, and up to a $10,000 fine.

Defense Cases for Extortion

There are some possible defenses for extortion under Florida law, and this includes self-defense, defense or property, and defense of another person. It is also possible to prove that the threat was an idle threat.

What To Do If You Are Accused of Extortion

If you are charged with extortion, you need more than just a basic grasp of the Florida Extortion Statute. It is essential for you to have a criminal lawyer who has the experience and expertise to navigate the complexities of federal and state laws. You should contact an experienced South Florida criminal defense attorney immediately. The professionals at the Law Offices of Michael A. Gottlieb can provide any legal assistance you may need. Contact our office today at 954-462-1005 for a free consultation.

 

What is Employee Theft?

What is Employee Theft?

Employee theft is a widespread problem across the United States. In fact, U.S. businesses lose about $50 billion annually because of this crime, including the cost of employee theft prosecution. If you do not want to be part of these statistics, learn more about this crime and how you can take legal action against employee theft.

Employee Theft Explained

In Florida, theft is a crime where a person knowingly acquires the property of another with the goal of benefitting himself or depriving the owner of a right to the property. Under Section 812.014 of the Florida Statutes, theft occurs when someone temporarily or permanently:

  1. “Deprive[s] the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property [of another];” or
  2. “Appropriate[s] the property [of another] to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the property;” or
  3. “Endeavors to” commit either of these acts, even if they do not succeed in doing so

When the act is committed by an employee in the workplace or while performing his duties, the crime is employee theft. Strictly speaking, there is no crime of employee theft in the Florida law. It only defines theft and classifies it into grand theft or petit theft. The crime would be considered grand theft if the value of the property stolen is $300 or more, while it would be petit theft if the property that was stolen is worth at least $100 but not more than $300.

The term “employee theft” only denotes that there is an employer-employee relationship between the offender and the victim. It is often interchanged with embezzlement since appropriating company funds entrusted to an employee is the most common way of committing employee theft.

Consequences of Employee Theft

Taking legal action against employee theft is vital because it is a serious problem that affects many businesses. According to the United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC), about 75% of employees have stolen from their workplace at least once. As written in an article by the International Foundation for Protection Officers, about half of that number do it again and even repeatedly. Studies have found that employee theft as the cause of “as much as 30% of all business failures.” This makes small- and medium-size entrepreneurs susceptible.

Employee theft is likely to involve the theft of larger amounts of money than with ordinary theft. This is because the offender has easier access to money and other property. Suspicions of theft by employees, or the confirmation of such suspicions, may strain the level of trust that employers have in them. However, employers themselves are not free of the same suspicion: managers account for 37% of employee theft cases.

Employee Theft Prosecution in Florida

Law enforcement is also serious when it comes to employee theft prosecution. Depending on the value of the property stolen, the court may impose a penalty of imprisonment for five years at the minimum and 30 years at the most, and payment of fines ranging from $5,000 up to $10,000. The judge may also order the convicted defendant to return whatever they stole.

This means that an accusation as serious as employee theft needs to be dealt with immediately to prevent further damage to your reputation and avoid conviction. If you or a loved one face charges of employee theft, you need to make sure you have a skilled Florida fraud crime lawyer on your side to help you take legal action against employee theft. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. to find an experienced federal criminal defense attorney in Broward County. Call us today at 954-462-1005 for a free consultation.

What Is The Florida Money Laundering Act?

What Is The Florida Money Laundering Act

What Is The Florida Money Laundering Act?

The Florida Money Laundering Act is a state law that went into effect back in 2015. The law penalizes those who engage in money laundering, which is the process of engaging in financial transactions used to intentionally conceal, hide, or process money that was generated through criminal activity.

In layman’s terms, it’s the process of converting the money earned from illegal activities into “clean cash.” It’s commonly done by using that illegal money to buy things (gold, food, liquor, etc.,) and then selling those same things to earn (with the intent to conceal) said clean cash.

Understanding the law, its repercussions and your legal rights can help you figure out the necessary steps to take if you find yourself wrapped up in money laundering.

Types of Money Laundering

When you hear the term money laundering, you probably associate it with the Pablo Escobars of the world. But, in fact, it’s gone beyond just drug-related crimes. Now, money laundering can occur through business fraud, mortgage fraud, real estate fraud, and even investments. Money laundering can even occur through legitimate businesses that operate as “front companies”. These include cash-check stores, strip clubs, and even car washes.

The main thing that differentiates money laundering from simply making money through illegal activities is that you are intentionally trying to hide that money from the government.

If you are running an illegal business, for example, but are not hiding the money you’re making from it from the government, then you can’t be charged with money laundering. Simply put: you can be charged for whatever the illegal activity is, but cannot be charged with money laundering.

Penalties and Sentencing

Penalties and subsequent sentencing for money laundering vary depending on the amount of money involved. Florida’s money laundering laws execute the following penalties for money laundering:

  • A third-degree felony if the transaction values total between $300 and $20,000 within a twelve-month period. Jail time is up to five years in a state prison.
  • A second-degree felony if the transaction values total between $20,001 and $100,000 within a twelve-month period. Jail time is up to fifteen years in a state prison.
  • A first-degree felony if the transaction values exceed $100,001 within a twelve-month period. Jail time is up to thirty years in a state prison.

In addition to jail time, there could be fines that vary based on previous convictions as well as possible probation. As proven by the introduction of the Florida Money Laundering Act, both the state and federal government are really cracking down on and prosecuting individuals involved in money laundering.

Legal Steps To Take

Money laundering is a serious crime, and it’s crucial that you contact an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as you find yourself being investigated for, or are currently involved in, a money laundering case. The attorneys at Broward Criminal Lawyer understand the Florida Money Laundering Act inside and out, and through our out-of-the-box defense strategies, we can help you get the best outcome in your case. Contact us today at  954-462-1005 for a free consultation.

What is Money Laundering?

WHAT IS MONEY LAUNDERING

U.S. congressman Tom DeLay was forced to step down in 2005 after being charged with money laundering. The progress of global financial markets makes this crime easier to commit. Read on below to understand what exactly it is and how it is done.

Money Laundering: A Bird’s Eye View

Money laundering is the act of trying to make money appear to come from another source. That is, criminals create the impression that the money obtained through illegal come from a legitimate source. This is to ensure that the illegally obtained money will not be seized by the authorities.

How is Money Laundering Committed?

The processes involved in this criminal activity are quite extensive. Money is laundered every time a person or business transacts in any way with another party’s benefit from crime. This will take place in three unique stages, namely:

  1. Placement – the point at which the criminally obtained money is incorporated into the financial system.
  2. Layering – the most important part of the process wherein the money is “washed” and its source and ownership are disguised.
  3. Integration – this is the last stage wherein the money laundered is introduced again into the legal economy.

The concepts and definitions given above are quite simple. There are, however, some situations wherein one stage would overlap another stage. For a crime to be classified as federal level, the illegal activities or money should cross state borders, or the money was taken from government agencies. Money earned through drug trafficking is usually considered as a federal level case.

Penalties Given for Committing Money Laundering

This activity is classified as a serious crime that comes with severe federal charges. The perpetrator may be sentenced to jail time for a maximum of 20 years. The length of time spent in prison is based on the amount of money laundered. As the amount goes up, the higher the cost of the fines and the more time spent behind bars.

It is necessary to defend yourself well in court in order to avoid being sentenced with jail time. The owner of a business must be able to prove that he was not actively involved in handling the laundered money in any way. The government has the burden to prove that the accused individual was aware of the activity. If he was ignorant, the charges may be dropped.

Is it possible that the entire company is not involved in committing the crime and that only specific individuals took active part in its commission? The answer is yes. For instance, an accountant that works for the company may be the perpetrator while the business owner is not aware of the illegal activities that have happened or are happening.

Have a Reputable Defense Attorney Represent You in a Money Laundering Case

The government must prove in court that a reasonable person is aware of the illegal activities happening in the company. In other words, the government must prove that the person is knowledgeable of the crime even if it does not look like it.

Defending your case against this kind of charges is much easier if you have an experienced criminal lawyer that thoroughly understands the matter. An experienced defense lawyer will be able to effectively explain to the court that the accused could not have known it based on several factors. Call the Broward Criminal Law Firm today to book an appointment.

What Are White Collar Crimes?

What are White collar Crimes

What are White-Collar Crimes?

You may have heard a lot about white collar crimes but often media reports on the matter are vague. If this has left you wondering exactly what a white-collar crime is, we are here to help. This is especially important if you have been charged with a white-collar crime. The laws concerning business-related crimes are complicated and will cause you to feel very overwhelmed if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. This article will help you understand what white collar crimes are, going into further detail about each type.

General Overview

White-collar crime is a general term for any crime that is non-violent in nature that is committed for the purpose of financial gain. According to the FBI, “these crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and are not dependent on the application or threat of physical force of violence.”( https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime) The term comes from the fact that white collar workers, such as a business managers or executives, typically commit these crimes. Not only do these individuals often end up with hefty fines or jail time for these crimes, the federal government goes after banks and institutions that commit these crimes on an institutional level.

What Is Fraud?

A common type of white collar crime is fraud. This is a broad term, and there are many other crimes that fit in this category. One type of fraud is securities fraud, which is most commonly used to describe crimes like insider trading. These crimes typically occur when someone with inside information about a company uses this information to mislead others or to gain an advantage in the stock market. Mortgage and insurance fraud are also very common types of fraud.

What Is Embezzlement and Money Laundering?

Embezzlement is a crime where someone takes money improperly from a place of work or from someone who pays the worker for a job. Typically, this occurs when an employee steals money from the company that they work for by taking the money and siphoning it into their own personal bank account. Money laundering is when someone takes money that was obtained illegally, such as misbegotten money from selling drugs, and then goes through a process that makes it appear as if it were clean money.

What Is Tax Evasion?

Tax evasion is a white-collar crime when a person avoids paying the taxes which they owe. This is often done through a variety of techniques such as falsifying information on tax forms and transferring assets and properties to avoid obligations for taxes.

What Should I Do If I Am Accused of One of These Crimes?

What makes these crimes so difficult to understand is the fact that there are federal and state laws that have various punishments associated with these crimes. For this reason, it is crucial for you to have a criminal lawyer who specializes in these types of crimes to represent you. Such an attorney knows all of the details of these laws and will give you the best advice in regards to what to do with your specific situation. Getting a lawyer is your right and you can be sure that they have your best interests at heart. We can help with your white collar crime case, call Broward County’s top criminal lawyer. 1-954-462-1005