Corporate fraud is a term used to describe a wide variety of unlawful and unethical business practices. For instance, many corporate fraud charges involve accusations that a company used accounting schemes to deceive investors or auditors about the financial condition of a business. These types of charges can have devastating effects for both a business and the accused individual, especially for those who did not intend to deceive anyone or who were the victims of another person’s fraud, so if you are being investigated for corporate fraud, it is critical to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help you formulate a defense.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) focuses its corporate fraud investigations on a few specific activities, such as:
- Making false accounting entries;
- Misrepresenting a company’s financial condition to the public and shareholders;
- Making fraudulent trades to inflate profits or hide losses;
- Using transactions to evade regulatory oversight;
- Insider trading and self dealing;
- Misusing corporate property for personal gain; and
- Obstructing justice to hide fraudulent behaviors.
Although technically anyone within a business organization could be prosecuted for committing fraud, most investigations involve the behavior of executives, managers, officers, and others who are in a position of authority within a company.
Possible Penalties and Defenses
Corporate fraud crimes can be prosecuted at both the federal and state level and can have dire consequences for the accused, including:
- Fines of up to $250,000;
- A prison sentence of between five and ten years per charge;
- Restitution to any victims;
- Asset forfeiture; and
- The loss of a business or professional license.
Victims of a person’s fraudulent activities can also bring a claim against the defendant in civil court to recover damages for the financial losses he or she suffered.
However, proving charges of corporate fraud is difficult because prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant intended to defraud a business or another person. For this reason, a lack of intent is often an accused’s best defense to charges of corporate fraud.
Finally, in order to charge someone with corporate fraud, prosecutors must file a claim within five years of the date of the fraudulent action. In some cases, however, if the person within the business organization who is accused of fraud does not live in Florida, the statute of limitations can be tolled or legally suspended.
Contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys to Speak With an Experienced Federal Crimes Lawyer
At the office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys, our legal team is dedicated to helping give our clients peace of mind and so are available via email, phone, and live chat to address any questions or concerns. In the last decade, corporate fraud charges have become more aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the FBI than ever before, so if you are a resident of south Florida and are currently being investigated for corporate fraud, please contact us by calling 305-670-9919 and we’ll help you schedule a free case evaluation with a dedicated and knowledgeable federal crimes attorney.