White Collar Crime Defense Laywer
How State and Federal White Collar Crimes Are Prosecuted
The government must prove intent for a conviction in the case of white-collar crimes. Intent is most often proved through circumstances and inference. Someone accused of a white-collar crime must have a defense attorney/counsel experienced in this unique area of law who can understand how the government builds its case and can counter the government’s arguments.
White Collar Criminal Defense Strategies
White-collar criminal practice differs greatly from standard criminal practice. For instance, in most criminal cases, there will be issues of identification and questions about what actions occurred.
In the typical white-collar case, neither of these issues usually exists. In a white-collar case, there is often no dispute about what occurred and who was involved. Very often, the issue is the intent of the person under investigation or charged.
With those facts taken into consideration, the most common defense strategies for white-collar crimes revolve around the following:
- Lack of Intent
- Potential Fourth Amendment Violations
- Statute of Limitations
- Poor Prior Legal Counsel
Each case is unique and requires extensive study for the best possible defense.
Examples of White-Collar and Matters We Handle
The Serafini Law Office handles different cases on behalf of its clients.
All convicted defendants are entitled to appeal their convictions. Appeals in the federal system are to the U.S. Courts of Appeal. In Florida, state court appeals are to the District Courts of Appeal. Appeals look at errs of law that prevent the trial from being fair to the defendant. Experienced counsel reviews a trial record and determines possible areas of successful appeal.
Art Fraud involves passing inexpensive artistic copies as original works of art. They are relatively rare. These cases involve the use of experts in art and art valuation. Because of the infrequent prosecution, relatively few criminal attorneys have experience in the defense of these cases. Mr. Serafini has defended art fraud cases and understands the issues in both criminal and civil contexts.
Asset forfeiture typically refers to the confiscation of assets resulting from or used in connection with a criminal offense. Under federal law, there are three means of asset forfeiture: criminal, civil, and administrative. In criminal forfeiture cases, the forfeiture claim is part of the indictment, and the jury is asked to find forfeiture. Mr. Serafini has extensive experience in this area of representation.
These offenses include embezzlement from a business entity or other types of crimes in which the business is either the victim or perpetrator. In the latter situations, the law enforcement authorities seek to identify the business professionals responsible for the criminal behavior. The ramifications can be devastating for a business or financial institution under investigation. Several laws encompass this type of crime, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, fraud statutes, and conspiracy.
State investigators frequently undertake significant and complex investigations and prosecutions. These are often pursued through the state attorney general or large district or state attorneys’ offices. When states undertake these investigations, the process is similar to a large federal investigation. There is often a task force representing several state agencies. Frequently, the investigators will work with a grand jury specially impaneled for the investigation. Additionally, the investigators will have subpoena power to compel the production of evidence.
Computer fraud is the hacking of business or personal computer systems to steal money or information or to cause harm to the system and the owner of the system. Also encompassed within computer crime is the use of computers to commit another type of crime, such as wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft, or gaming offenses.
Under federal and state law, if someone agrees to a plan with others to commit criminal activity, that person and the people with whom he or she is working may be charged with conspiracy to commit a crime. The act of planning and agreeing to carry out a crime—even if never completed—is enough for a criminal conviction.
Counterfeiting is the manufacture and passing of fake currency. It may also refer to the fraudulent manufacture and/or sale of goods purporting to be of quality or from a designer or manufacturer who would receive a higher price than counterfeit goods. Watches, clothing, and other types of jewelry are often the objects of counterfeiters.
Mr. Serafini has represented defendants accused of counterfeiting criminal charges. He also has experience in corporate criminal litigations representing large corporations who have been victims of product counterfeiting.
The term “fraud” includes many types of theft or attempted theft through deceptive practices. Numerous criminal statutes address fraud. It is a main component of white-collar criminal enforcement. Beyond the criminal ramifications of fraud, there is a vast amount of civil fraud enforcement. Government agencies with non-criminal enforcement authority can investigate and bring civil fraud enforcement actions. Such frauds may also fall under the False Claims Act.
The grand jury is a formal investigative body impaneled by a court to investigate possible criminal activity and bring formal charges against an accused through an indictment. Grand jury investigations and proceedings are secret. Additionally, grand juries have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.
Healthcare fraud is a white-collar crime and a general term encompassing any conduct involving material representation meant to obtain financial gain illegally. For example, when a claim is submitted for reimbursement based on procedures that were not rendered/not medically necessary, the individual or entity responsible for the submission is at risk of criminal charges for this type of fraud. Another example is the payment of value for the referral of patients for services. When an entity is accused of healthcare fraud, the government must be able to prove that he or she intended to steal from a payor.
ID fraud is using someone else’s identification information for fraud. The theft of identification information may lead to check fraud, credit card fraud, internet fraud, or fraud against government agencies. This is becoming an increasingly popular area of prosecution by the federal government and falls under the category of white-collar crimes.
Immigration fraud is the fraudulent attempt to obtain legal immigration status for an alien not entitled to legal status. Federal enforcement of immigration fraud involves cases against organized groups who provide this illegal service to persons not eligible for permanent legal resident status. These cases often require significant documentary evidence, with investigations involving undercover agents and electronically recorded evidence.
Internal investigations arise when business executives either receive allegations of corporate wrongdoing or learn of a pending government investigation. Internal investigations should be independent, conducted by counsel not associated with any decision, and with a significant background in conducting investigations.
Mortgage and bank fraud typically result from submitting inaccurate financial information on bank forms to obtain funds from the institution. These white-collar offenses may range from an individual providing false information on his or her loan application to a money laundering attempt, to an organized scheme involving financial institution insiders who receive kickbacks for knowingly authorizing fraudulent loan documents.
Securities fraud encompasses a wide range of illegal securities transactions. It is the transaction in securities based on the knowing falsification or lack of disclosure of pertinent facts about the securities transacted. This white-collar crime includes insider trading, price manipulation, accounting irregularities, and fraudulent sales practices. The federal government can charge this type of crime under various statutes, such as securities fraud, wire fraud, and/or mail fraud. These white-collar matters may involve state and federal investigations in connection with an SEC investigation. In addition, the agencies mentioned above may also work closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO Act, was introduced as Title IX in the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. The RICO Act was legislated to combat the growing influence and threat of organized crime like gangs and mafias in the United States. RICO can be used in civil and criminal cases and includes a list of 35 predicate crimes, including mail and wire fraud, bribery, tax evasion/fraud, procurement fraud, and extortion. Federal prosecutors handle the criminal investigation of RICO crimes, which may involve criminal or civil elements.
Most states have RICO-type statutes based on the federal Act. The states enforce their racketeering statutes in the respective state courts.
The Serafini Law Office provides representation and consultation for both criminal and civil RICO defense and for civil RICO plaintiffs.
Richard Serafini Can Assist with White Collar and Complex Criminal Defense
White-collar defense and investigations are one of Mr. Serafini’s areas of focus. He is an experienced criminal defense attorney with over 40 years of practice. He has earned several accolades in the field, including the title “Sherlock Holmes of White-Collar Criminal Law” by Law.com.
Mr. Serafini is a former federal prosecutor and spent ten years as a senior prosecutor at the United States Department of Justice. He was a fraud and organized crime prosecutor, serving in both the Fraud Section and as a Strike Force attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of Main Justice in Washington, DC. In these positions, Mr. Serafini represented the U.S. in the largest and most complex cases in federal courts nationwide. Before joining the DOJ, he worked as a supervisor in the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in its New York office.
His experience as a white-collar crime prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer gives him a unique insight into how government investigations work. Mr. Serafini is well-versed in civil and criminal investigations and prosecutions, including how cases are built and how arguments are prepared. He utilizes this knowledge to craft the most appropriate criminal defense for each and every case to achieve the best possible outcome.
Our law firm currently offers a range of legal services to the following cities and states: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Contact us at (754) 223-4718 for a free consultation.