Conspiracy to Commit a White Collar Crime
White collar crimes are non-violent offenses that often involve using trickery or deceit to defraud others. While many people know that fraudulent activity falls under the category of white collar crime, few are aware that conspiracy to commit a fraudulent act is also unlawful in Florida. Being convicted of conspiring to commit fraud can have serious consequences, including jail time and hefty fines, so if you are being investigated for fraudulent activity, it is crucial to contact an experienced white collar crime attorney who can advise you.
White Collar Crime Defined
In Florida, white collar crimes are defined as non-violent offenses that are committed with the intent to defraud someone else. However, a person can also be charged with a white collar crime even if he or she only:
- Conspired to temporarily or permanently deprive a person of his or her property; or
- Conspired to commit fraud or deceit upon another person.
Conspiracy charges are often brought in federal court and can have serious penalties. For instance, if someone is convicted of conspiring to defraud the U.S., he or she faces up to five years in prison and a substantial fine. Even if the conspiracy only involved an offense that is charged as a misdemeanor, the penalty could still result in up to one year in prison.
Elements of Conspiracy
In order to convict someone of conspiracy to commit fraud, the prosecutor must demonstrate that:
- There was an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime; and
- Those individuals committed an overt act that constituted a step towards committing the crime.
Furthermore, the agreement between the two parties does not need to be explicit in order to satisfy the definition of conspiracy and the overt act does not itself need to be illegal. In fact, some courts have held that a person can be convicted of conspiring with another party to commit a white collar crime even if the individuals never actually met up, interacted, or put the agreement in writing, as long as one party knew that the other was taking steps to further the conspiracy. However, the individuals involved must be entering into the agreement knowingly and not by mistake if the charge is to stand.
Contact an Experienced South Florida White Collar Crime Attorney Today
In many cases, those who are charged with conspiracy to commit a white collar crime are not even aware that they were entering into an agreement to defraud someone. For this reason, it is critical to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help the accused formulate a defense. This is especially important because conviction could result in a prison sentence, fines, and a permanent criminal record. If you live in south Florida and are being investigated for a crime, please call Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to schedule a free one-on-one consultation with a dedicated white collar crime attorney who can explain your legal options.