The Consequences of White Collar Crime

Law enforcement officials in Florida recently began a crackdown on white collar crimes including financial and investment scams. Since taking office in 2010, the current Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida has led the effort to combat white collar crime, making restitution, the collection of money lost by investors in scams, a top priority.

The Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, which includes Orlando and Tampa, has made organizational changes to the division responsible for collecting restitution for the victims of white collar crimes. New organizational efficiency has helped make the crackdown effective. In 2011, the Middle District collected $11.3 million in restitution. As a further step, officials may increase the amount of time and effort spent tracking assets before a suspect will be made e aware of an investigation. This time delay will likely make it easier to liquidate assets for restitution upon conviction.

However, the $11.3 million in restitution that was collected was only a small percentage of the $625 million total of court-ordered restitution in the district in 2011. In some cases, even if assets are available for restitution, they may be tied up in bankruptcy or other legal proceedings, slowing the process.

The issue of court-ordered restitution highlights one of the possible consequences of white collar crime, namely, the seizure of assets.

Asset seizure can have severe consequences for convicted individuals and their families, as their personal assets may be taken in order to fulfill court-ordered restitution obligations. For example, a person's home, automobiles, and other property can be seized by the government through foreclosure in order to make restitution. For those convicted of white collar crime, restitution can mean the loss of everything they own. If you are facing accusations of being involved in a white collar crime, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney may help you understand your rights, grant you the legal defense that you are entitled to and help you retain your assets

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Florida's Federal Courts Search for Solution to Weak Restitution-Recovery Rates," Richard Burnett, June 17, 2012

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