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Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

Florida man sentenced in wire fraud case

The owner and operator of a Florida investment firm received a sentence of five years in federal prison on October 17 on fraud charges. Federal prosecutors claim the man was involved in a conspiracy with others to defraud investors, which allowed them to accumulate approximately $6 million.

According to federal prosecutors, the 55-year-old Sarasota investment advisor pleaded guilty in March to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition to a prison sentence, court documents show the judge also ordered the man to pay $3.4 million in restitution to those investors he allegedly defrauded and to forfeit $2.8 million in purportedly fraudulent earnings.

Florida woman pleads not guilty to human trafficking charges

According to an investigation led by the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office, a woman from Tallahasee and her partner allegedly enabled the sexual abuse of a young girl for 13 years. Investigators had been tracking the woman and her boyfriend since last year. Multiple arrest warrants were eventually issued. The couple fled authorities, but law enforcement soon arrested the fugitives.

The warrants against the woman detailed accusations of two counts of sexual abuse, lewd and lascivious behavior and child cruelty. According to investigators, she had allowed people to abuse the young girl, starting when she was 3 years old, in exchange for drugs. The abuse allegedly lasted until March 2016.

Drug and gun charges send 3 Florida gang members to prison

Investigations by the Operation Northern Lights Task Force have resulted in the convictions of three men, ages 23, 24 and 33, for multiple drug and firearms charges. According to federal officials, they belonged to the street gang "Boss Life" that has been associated with violent crime in the Miami-Dade area. The men engaged in over 30 weapons or drug purchases with undercover agents from April 2015 to November 2016.

These undercover transactions provided investigators with evidence of narcotics distribution and the sale of weapons and gun parts. In addition to the men trafficking in crack cocaine and heroin, investigators documented their business in high-capacity firearms, such as a fully automatic rifle. Their merchandise also included a drum magazine that held one hundred rounds and guns with serial numbers removed. Curbing illegal arms sales in the area had been a primary goal of the task force.

Man convicted on tax fraud scheme

A Florida man was convicted on several fraud charges following a jury trial that lasted almost two weeks. The Miami jury found the 28-year-old man guilty of 16 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of aggravated identity theft and four counts of money laundering. The man was also convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The defendant reportedly operated a business in West Palm Beach called Tax King. While the man was running the tax preparation business, prosecutors say that he filed around 1,600 fake tax returns. The tax returns that were filed between 2012 and 2014 led to refund payouts totaling $1.3 million. According to prosecutors, the refunds were deposited into bank accounts and debit cards that were under the control of the defendant and two of his employees.

Third DUI in Florida? Here's what you need to know

When a person gets his or her first DUI, it may be a fluke. First offenses are treated fairly lightly, and although they're penalized, people may walk away without spending time in prison or paying extreme fines. That's not the case when it's your third offense.

A third offense leaves courts with little way to excuse your actions, especially if the DUIs occurred close together. With a history of drug or alcohol abuse on your record, you're in a precarious position.

Court rules even sex offenders can use Facebook

Florida residents may be wary of how sex offenders use technology. However, the Supreme Court ruled on June 19 that they can still use social media. The court reasoned that the tool has become too important as a source of information to bar them from doing so. This ruling was in response to a law in North Carolina that made it a felony for sex offenders to view sites like Twitter or Facebook.

The court ruled that the state's law had violated the First Amendment. Justice Kennedy wrote that criminals may engage in an exchange of ideas that could lead them to changing their ways. The case in question centered around a man who received two years of supervised probation after being convicted of a sex crime in 2002. In 2010, the man used Facebook after being cleared of a parking ticket.

Florida man facing 40 child pornography counts

Police in Florida have reported that a 28-year-old man has been taken into custody after officers discovered 40 or more images of children engaging in sex acts on his computer. The Sarasota resident has been charged with 40 counts of possessing child pornography and was remanded to the Sarasota County Jail after being denied a bond. A Sarasota County Sheriff's Office representative said that further charges could be added as the investigation continues to unfold.

Authorities say that the man became a person of interest when a computer IP address that had been used to download as many as 15,000 files thought to contain images of minors engaging in sex acts was traced to his residence. Reports indicate that the detectives assigned to the case learned about the nature of the files in question from members of an Internet Crimes Against Children task force. The ICAC is part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the Department of Justice.

Criminal charges are pending for a former financial analyst

A former employee of Amazon is being charged with illegal insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission . Financial analysts in the Tampa area should pay close attention to the case and the legal issues of disclosing nonpublic information to third parties.

The criminal charges stem from the ex-employee's status as a financial analyst and the information received due to his position. The employee leaked first quarter 2015 earnings reports to a third party in exchange for a $10,000 payment. The third party allegedly used that information to trade company stock for a profit. It is alleged the third party profited more than $100,000 from the information. Another third party, who allegedly helped broker the trades, is also being charged.

Woman found guilty of sex offenses involving minors

On Sept. 20, a 20-year-old Florida woman was found guilty on several sex crimes following a three-day trial. According to the report, the woman and her ex-boyfriend were accused of possessing child pornography and of abusing two children under the age of 5.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began to investigate the case after officers received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The ex-boyfriend, age 18, was taken into custody at his home on March 28. He was charged with 10 counts of child pornography. As the investigation progressed, authorities reported that images were found of the man abusing a child.

Man wanted for identity theft taken into custody

On Sept. 5, a Florida man who has been wanted for years for allegedly stealing credit card information was taken into custody. The man, age 34, was recognized by a store employee as he was shopping at a Deltona Wal-Mart located near the State Road 415 and Howland Boulevard.

Authorities said that detectives learned that the wanted man frequently shopped at that particular Wal-Mart location. They showed pictures of the man to store employees and asked that they give the police a call if they see him. The worker recognized the man and made the call. He now faces multiple fraud and identity theft charges.

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