I’ve been charged with an economic crime. What do I do now?

I’ve been charged with an economic crime. What do I do now?

Most serious economic crimes are charged in Federal Court. These include different times of fraud crimes such as investment fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud and mortgage fraud. Other types of Federal economic crimes that are very commonly prosecuted are tax evasion and money laundering.

The amount of prison time that a person accused of an economic crime in Federal court is based on an advisory sentencing guideline adjusted on the amount of what the court says the “loss” is. In other words, the more the loss is, the more prison time you could be exposed to. It’s important to contact an experienced Federal criminal economic crimes attorney so that you can dispute what the Government is saying the “loss” is and to make objections to common enhancements to your potential sentence such as abuse of position of trust or being an organizer or leader of a scheme to defraud.

State court cases tend to involve theft of large amounts of money through some type of investment scheme to defraud or failure to pay with intent to defraud. Many State court cases really do not belong in criminal court because they lack the requisite criminal intent and should be lawsuits in civil court. If someone has accused you of taking money, failing to pay it back, or failing to deliver on a contract after being paid you should contact an experienced economic crimes attorney right away. Do not let the State and your accuser used the leverage of the criminal justice system of possible prison time just to get you to pay them back something that is in dispute and should be in civil court.

Written by

Ray Lopez has practiced since 1990, with prior experience as a Hillsborough County assistant State attorney and lawyer for the Tampa Police Department. He handles all criminal charges, from traffic violations and misdemeanors to serious felonies and federal drug charges. He practices in all state and federal courts of the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida, as well as criminal appeals, juvenile court, administrative hearings, and civil forfeiture proceedings.

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