If Tampa police or another party accuses you of theft, fraud, or another white-collar crime, you have a lot to lose. Not only could you face criminal charges, but the victim could file a civil suit against you in an attempt to recover lost assets. A conviction could land you in jail or — at the very least — cost you business and social relationships.
The theft lawyers in Tampa at Goldman Wetzel have seen the damage done by accusations of theft and criminal charges. If convicted, you could face large fines, imprisonment, and other sanctions. You need a seasoned defense team on your side. Call us today at 727-828-3900 to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Types of Theft and White-Collar Crimes Does Goldman Wetzel Handle?
Goldman Wetzel’s team can represent you in any theft or white-collar criminal case, but some of the most common charges we see include:
The charge you face depends on the type of property you allegedly stole and its value. For example, if you stole a firearm, you face third-degree felony charges.
If you stole property valued at less than $300, you face charges for first-degree misdemeanor petit theft.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud includes almost any way someone might gain access to someone else’s money using a credit card. It could be as simple as stealing a card, or as complex as attaching a skimmer to an ATM or gas pump. You can also face charges if you apply for a credit card in someone else’s name or were part of an email or website phishing scheme.
Bank and loan fraud is a sort of catch-all term for a number of ways a person could commit fraud and gain access to funds through a bank or other financial institution. This may include lying on a mortgage or loan application, altering checks, or making fraudulent ATM deposits.
Insurance fraud can include anything from a faked injury or staged car crash to burning down a building for insurance money.
While most people think of counterfeiting as illegally manufacturing currency, that is not the only crime that falls under this category. You may also face counterfeiting charges if you illegally create driver’s licenses or other identification cards, checks, or credit cards.
Social Security Fraud
Social Security fraud occurs when a person scams the Social Security system to receive benefits he does not qualify for. You may face charges if you lied when applying for benefits, used someone else’s identity to draw benefits, stole benefits from another person, or failed to notify Social Security about the death of a beneficiary.
Almost any type of white-collar crime can include computer crimes as well, depending on the methods the offender uses. In some cases, using the Internet to engage in criminal activity can escalate these crimes to interstate offenses.
When Is Theft or Fraud a Federal Crime?
Federal prosecutors will only take on cases that are worth their time. Some of the things that may make the U.S. government consider taking a case include:
- If the victim was a government agency, such as Social Security or Medicaid
- If there is a criminal enterprise involved
- If there is interstate involvement
- If the federal punishments are more fitting than those allowed under Florida law
- If the crime involves tax evasion, mail fraud, money laundering, or RICO offenses
Federal charges are often more severe. If we can intervene early, we may be able to convince prosecution to keep your case in Florida.
What Penalties Might I Face If Convicted of a Theft or White-Collar Crime?
If you face a theft charge, you will face fines between $500 and $10,000 and jail time between 60 days and 15 years.
The penalties you might receive if convicted of a white-collar offense vary based on the facts of your case. Some common penalties include:
- Credit Card Fraud: 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines for a second-degree felony offense
- Forgery and Counterfeiting: Five years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Identity Theft: 15 years in prison and large fines based on the value of the theft and number of victims, when prosecuted as a federal crime
As you can see, the penalties for these crimes are very serious, and in some cases comparable to violent crimes. Calling a lawyer can help you avoid jail time or harsh penalties. If you get the Goldman Wetzel team on board early enough, you may be able to avoid charges entirely.
How Can a Tampa Theft Lawyer Help Me Win My Case?
We can help you negotiate a plea bargain for a lesser charge, fight the charges against you, and represent you in court if necessary. Some of the most common defenses we might use include entrapment, insufficient evidence, and lack of intent.
We can analyze your case and make a plan to defend you against the allegations you face. And because we work together on each case we take on, you have two unique minds brainstorming potential defenses and angles of the prosecution’s case we can exploit.
We will protect your rights during interrogations by police and investigators, and ensure that the criminal justice system works as designed in your case and that you receive a fair trial.
We will fight for you throughout the process, working to have the charges against you reduced or dropped, and presenting you in the best light possible in every court appearance. We always ensure the prosecution gets to know our clients, so it thinks of them as more than just another case file.
Call Goldman Wetzel for Your Free Consultation Today
If you are under investigation for theft, fraud, or another white-collar crime, or if you already face charges, we can help. Call Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900 or contact us online for a free case evaluation or to learn more about how we can help protect your reputation.