Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Attorney For All White Collar Crimes
Securities fraud cases are not limited to administrative discipline by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Often, cases involving regulated securities are investigated by the cooperative efforts of federal agencies (such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation) and state agencies (such as the Florida Department of Financial Regulation), while the local county sheriff’s deputies or local police may execute search warrants or make arrests. These cases involve a complex mix of federal securities regulations, federal jurisdiction, fraud charges (that can be state or federal) and many other complicated legal circumstances. This is why it is so important to consult with an experienced Florida white collar crimes attorney as soon as you become aware of any type of law enforcement investigation.
At Stroleny Law, P.A., our experienced white collar crimes attorney has defended various securities charges in state and federal court. He knows how to interpret complex evidence from a prosecutor, consult with the right expert witnesses, and find the best strategy for defending white collar charges in any given circumstance. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you are represented by an experienced criminal attorney, the better protected your constitutional rights will be during the long and complex investigation process.
What is Securities Fraud?
In order to understand securities fraud, it is first necessary to understand what a financial security is. A security is, at the most simple level, a proof of ownership or debt that has been assigned a value and can be sold. These tradable financial assets can represent equity (such as stock in a company) or debt (such as a bank note, bond, or debenture). They can also be derivative of another type of security, as is the case with future options and swaps. Because financial securities are often intangible, and rely upon subjective concepts of value, they have been abused throughout history to the detriment of investors. Americans are generally more familiar with the more recents examples of Enron’s stock abuses in the first years of the twenty-first century (which lead to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002) and the mortgage crisis of 2008 (which lead to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010).
Financial securities first became subject to comprehensive regulation with the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. This Act was a reactionary measure taken by Congress to prevent the types of unchecked trading that lead to the stock market crash of 1929. The Act also created the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was tasked with enforcing these new regulations. Securities fraud – and other violations of the Act – are therefore federal crimes. Federal crimes are prosecuted in federal court, and convicted defendants must serve any prison sentence in a federal prison. 18 U.S.C. §1348 establishes punishments for defrauding any person in connection with a security, or obtaining money by false or fraudulent pretenses in connection with the sale of a commodity or security. Violations of this Section are subject to a sentence of up to 25 years in prison, fines, or both.
State law also provides criminal penalties for fraud in the offer, sale, or purchase of any investment or security. Section 517.301 of the Florida Statutes defines many ways in which this can be accomplished, such as: to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud; to obtain money or property by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made not misleading; or to engage in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon a person. It is also prohibited to knowingly and willfully falsify, conceal, or cover up, by any trick, scheme, or device, a material fact, make any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation, or make or use any false writing or documents.
Examples of Security Fraud
It can be difficult to make sense of a complex statutory definition. It is often easier to understand the concept of securities fraud with common examples that are often in the news, and have become familiar to most Americans. High yield investment schemes, in which investors are promised high rates of return with little to no risk, are a common example. Another familiar example is a Ponzi scheme. This occurs when a person (or group, or company) solicits investments. The first round of investors is then paid off with funds raised from a second round of investors (who are then assured that the first investors were paid on time and with interest). The cycle continues until no more investors can be found. The later investors are often the ones to lose their investment in the scheme.
Pyramid schemes are similar to a Ponzi scheme, but with the addition of a seemingly legitimate source of funds. Investors will be encouraged to sell their own products, or recruit others to the investment scheme. In reality, the scheme owners at the “top of the pyramid” are making money off the products sold or recruitment fees raised by those “down the pyramid.” This, too, leaves later investors without a way to recoup their initial investment in the scheme.
Experienced Miami White Collar Crimes Attorney for All Securities Charges
Since the first major securities fraud cases occurred at Enron at the turn of the twenty-first century, white collar cases have been prosecuted with greator fervor by prosecutors all across the country. It is important that every defendant have the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect his or her legal rights, and provide advice on the best method of defending securities fraud charges. The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. can help protect your constitutional rights at all stages of a criminal investigation and formal court proceedings. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. Our experienced Miami white collar crimes attorney can help protect you from making incriminating statements during a law enforcement investigation, protect you from excessive bail or other inappropriate pretrial release conditions, protect you from being held without sufficient evidence, and even work to dismiss charges that are duplicative or unsupported by evidence.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.