Criminal Lawyers in Miami, Florida

The Criminal Lawyer Group is composed of top-rated attorneys who have successfully represented corporate clients and individuals from Miami facing federal and state criminal charges and government investigations in each of the three (3) federal district courts:

1. Middle District of Florida;
2. Northern District of Florida;
3. Southern District of Florida

We also handle appeals from these District Courts in the Eleventh Circuit.

Our team consists of former prosecutors and award winning defense attorneys who have been recognized for their success in criminal defense litigation. If you or someone you know is currently under investigation or has been charged with a crime in Florida, please feel free to give us a call now.

State and Federal Criminal Defense

Crime in Miami can be prosecuted at both the federal and state level. Our clients come to us facing a range of potential penalties from monetary fines to life imprisonment. Although the death penalty is not commonly imposed in the state of Florida, it remains a legal possibility we are always determined to avoid.

Whether you are a white collar professional accused of financial fraud or a college student charged with drug possession, our criminal defense lawyers maintain up-to-date knowledge of the ever-shifting laws affecting Miami residents. There is no claim too big or too small for our firm’s expertise.

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(1) "Investment Fraud"

Investment Fraud is The Most Commonly Prosecuted Federal Crime in Miami.

"Investment Fraud" encompasses a number of different specific types of fraud, including securities fraud and insider trading, as well as ponzi and pyramid schemes briefly explained below.

"Securities Fraud" and "Insider Trading"

"Securities Fraud" typically involves companies reporting inaccurate financial information to shareholders or other types of inaccurate reporting or filing.

"Insider Trading" involves the improper use of "material" and "non-public" information. Typically, it involves individuals making investment decisions based on confidential information about publicly traded companies.

"Ponzi Schemes" & "Pyramid Schemes"

Ponzi and pyramid schemes occur when people provide false information to investors in order to induce investment decisions.

Example

Just last year, Miami resident Craig Sizer was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for an investment fraud conviction. An FBI investigation revealed he had obtained $23 million dollars from two separate schemes to defraud elderly and unsophisticated investors. Co-conspirators received additional prison sentences.

Penalties for Investment Fraud

If you are convicted of investment fraud violations, you could face fines ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $5 million. You can also face up to a five year prison sentence per individual offense.

If you are under investigation for investment fraud, or if you are facing federal charges, our white collar criminal defense attorneys in Miami have years of experience defending these types of cases. It is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible, in order to mitigate the consequences of your actions.

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(2) Larceny and Theft

After investment fraud, theft is the second most prosecuted crime in Miami. Charges can be brought under federal or state law. Our criminal defense attorneys are highly experienced in defending both types of cases.

18 U.S. Code Chapter 31

Federal theft is governed under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 31. To summarize those statutes broadly, federal theft charges arise when the money or property stolen belongs to the United States government.

"Knowingly"

Prosecutors must prove that you knowingly took wrongful action to deprive the United States of its rightful property, whether you did so through embezzlement, stealing, or knowing conversion.

Example

If you are responsible for guarding public money and use it without authorization, you have committed theft under federal law.

Penalties for Federal Theft

The value of the property stolen is the largest factor in your penalty. While theft of property under $1000 can result in up to a year in prison. The maximum penalty for federal theft involving property valued above $1000 can result in imprisonment for up to ten years.

In Florida, state charges related to theft are classified as either petty or grand larceny according to the value of property stolen. Punishment could range from 60 days in jail with a $500 fine for property under $100, to 30 years in jail and a $10,000 fine for property $100,000 and over.

Whether you were charged with theft under federal or state law, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to fight for the most favorable outcome available in your case.

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(3) Identity Theft

"Identity Theft" is one of the most prosecuted crimes in the Southern District of Florida. Our criminal defense attorneys are highly knowledgeable about the relevant laws and are prepared to defend you against any related charges you may be facing.

Forms of Identity Theft

Identity theft can take the form of credit card fraud, computer fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, financial institution fraud, and more. The crime encompasses a wide range of conduct, from charging someone else’s credit card without authorization, to deliberately using someone’s identifying information to set up offshore bank accounts.

Whether you face felony or misdemeanor charges for identity theft depends on the severity of your conduct. Misdemeanor charges might result from impersonating another to obtain money. However, using someone’s personal information to open bank accounts and make purchases is considered a felony.

Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act

Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act in 1998. This was the first statute to officially list identity theft as a federal crime.

Prohibited under the act is the unlawful use of another person’s identity. However, a federal conviction for identity theft requires proof that you committed the act with the "intent" to commit either:
(1) a felony under state law; or
(2) any violation of federal law.

Penalties for Identity Theft

Penalties can range anywhere from 1 to 40 years in prison, along with $1000 to $15,000 in fines. Prosecutors will generally pursue the harshest charges they can, which is why it is so imperative that you retain the representation of a criminal lawyer with the experience necessary to adequately represent you.

Our criminal defense attorneys in Miami have had great success defending our clients against these types of charges, and are available to provide a risk free consultation at your earliest convenience.

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(4) Tax Fraud

"Tax Fraud" is punishable under 26 U.S. Code § 7201. According to the statute, tax fraud occurs when you willfully attempt to evade or defeat any tax in any manner.

In other words, tax fraud occurs whenever you deliberately submit misleading information to the IRS or interfere in any way with the collection or distribution of government funds. Examples include filing a false return or false documents, not collecting employment taxes, failing to pay taxes, or failing to file tax returns.

"Red Flags"

There are a number of different red flags that alert the IRS to potential tax fraud. These include understating income, hiding assets, failing to keep records and/or file returns, refusing to cooperate with tax authorities, and handling your business in cash.

Penalties for Tax Fraud

At the misdemeanor level, penalties can include fines up to $25,000, and prison for up to one year. At the felony level, convictions can result in $100,000 in fines and a five year prison sentence.

If you have engaged in any of the behaviors described above, you are strongly advised to contact a criminal attorney immediately. Our criminal defense attorneys in Miami have a wealth of knowledge and experience in handling crimes related to tax fraud and are ready to provide you with the skilled counsel you need.

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(5) Drug Related Crimes

"Drug Related Crimes" fall just below identity theft on the list of most prosecuted crimes in Miami. They encompass a wide variety of conduct involving the possession, distribution, and traffic of controlled substances. Charges may be brought under federal or state law.

Federal Controlled Substances Act ("CSA")

Drug crimes trigger the Federal Controlled Substances Act ("CSA"), which classifies addictive substances according to their medical purpose, abuse potential, and likelihood to cause addiction.

Five Schedules Delineated by the CSA

The five schedules delineated by the CSA provide the basis for determining drug-related penalties. For example, Schedule 1 substances are punished by a minimum of 10 years in prison for a first time offenders. If death or serious bodily injury resulted, 20 years imprisonment may be imposed. In addition, second time offenders could face life imprisonment.

While healthcare professionals, prescription drug manufacturers, and pharmacies may legally administer certain controlled substances for medical purposes, federal law requires that such individuals and organizations comply with a number of strict regulations.

Federal Drug Charges - 21 U.S.C. § 841

21 U.S. Code § 841 makes it illegal to "knowingly" or "intentionally" manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance without proper authorization. This is true even if the treatment in question was prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose.

Penalties for Violating 21 U.S.C. § 841

The punishment you face if convicted will depend on the relevant controlled substance, how much of that substance you were responsible for, the consequence your crime cost your victims. If you have a criminal history, it could also impact your punishment.

Penalties will also depend on the strength of your defense. Our Miami criminal defense attorneys are available to help you defend any drug related charge you may be facing.

Drug Crimes under Florida State Law - § 893.13

If you commit a drug crime in Miami, your conduct may also be punishable under Florida State Law, § 893.13, of Florida’s criminal statute.

This statute provides that a drug related conviction requires proof that the substance in question was illegal, that you knew it was an illegal substance, and that the substance was in your control.

Penalties for Violating Florida State Law - § 893.13

Violations are divided into three (3) degrees of severity. As is the case under federal law, factors considered include the type of substance, the quantity of the substance, and the criminal history of the defendant. While a first degree misdemeanor conviction can lead to a year in jail, a first degree felony can result in a 30 year term of imprisonment.

Medical Marijuana in Florida

As of January 3, 2017, medical marijuana is legalized in the state of Florida. However, you must obtain a doctor’s prescription and possess legally manufactured marijuana in order to comply with the relevant requirements.

Our criminal defense attorneys are familiar with the complexities of both federal and state laws governing drug related crime and are fully prepared to assist you. If you have been charged with a drug crime or are currently under investigation, call us today.

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(6) Firearms Trafficking

"Firearms Trafficking" is a highly prosecuted crime in Miami. Generally speaking, it occurs whenever an unlicensed firearms dealer distributes firearms or other ammunition. Depending on the facts of your case, your conduct may be punishable under federal or state law.

Firearms Trafficking Under Federal Law

While federal law does not specifically prohibit firearms trafficking, a number of different federal statutes can give rise to charges. For example, the transfer of illegal guns or ammunition between states can violate federal laws regulating "interstate commerce." By trafficking across state lines, you are giving the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute you.

"Straw Purchasing"

"Straw Purchasing" occurs when a person who is illegally barred from purchasing a gun gets around the registration requirement through the use of another person.

This practice violates both 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A), which prohibit the act of providing false statements in order to purchase a firearm.

Florida state law has its own statute prohibiting straw purchasing. In addition, Florida law prohibits carrying a weapon without a license, as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Penalties for Trafficking in Firearms

Federal Penalties:
Penalties for trafficking under federal law can include fines, imprisonment for up to ten (10) years, or both.

Florida State Penalties:
Penalties under Florida state law can include a $5000 fine, imprisonment for up to five (5) years, or both.

If you're facing federal or state firearms charges, do not hesitate to contact our Miami criminal defense attorneys for a risk free consultation.

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(7) Money laundering

"Money Laundering" follows firearms trafficking on the list of Miami’s most prosecuted crimes. The act involves the concealment of illegally obtained funds.

Federal Money Laundering - 18 U.S. Code § 1956

Under federal law, money laundering is prohibited by 18 U.S. Code § 1956.

Penalties for Violating 18 U.S. Code § 1956

Conviction can result in fines, jail time, and probation, depending on the severity of the crime. Where money laundering occurs as part of a criminal enterprise, or is related to terrorism, imprisonment can extend up to 35 years.

Our criminal defense lawyers in Miami are highly experienced in defending our clients against money laundering allegations. Please get in touch with us for a risk free consultation as soon as possible if you are facing charges.

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(8) Mail fraud

"Mail Fraud", generally arises whenever fraud is conducted through the mail. For example, both Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff faced mail fraud charges in connection with their financial schemes.

This includes:
- Federal Express ("FedEx");
- the United Parcel Service ("UPS"); and
- the Unites States Postal Service ("USPS").

Federal Mail Fraud - 18 U.S. Code § 1341

Under federal law, money laundering is prohibited by 18 U.S. Code § 1956.

Penalties for Violating 18 U.S. Code § 1341

Mail fraud can be punishable by fine and up to 20 years in prison. However in certain circumstances, such as where mail fraud affects a financial institution, the punishment can increase to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

If you have used the mail in connection with any type of fraud, contact our criminal defense attorneys. We can help you understand the charges you may face and advise you on the best strategies to protect your rights.

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(9) Insurance fraud

"Insurance Fraud" follows mail fraud on the list of Miami’s most prosecuted crimes. It occurs whenever fraud is committed in an effort to obtain payment from an insurer.

Examples of Insurance Fraud

Examples of insurance fraud include when a healthcare provider fraudulently bills for unprovided services, when a personal injury attorney lies about his client’s injuries in order to obtain reimbursement, or when an individual deliberately destroys insured property in order to collect money.

Government’s Burden of Proof

Regardless of the form, proving criminal insurance requires evidence of the following three (3) elements "beyond a reasonable doubt." All three elements must be established in order for the prosecution to reach an insurance fraud conviction.

(1) knowingly made a false or misleading statement;
(2) the statement was material; and
(3) the statement was made in connection with an insurance policy.

"Hard Fraud" and "Soft Fraud"

Generally, insurance fraud is divided into two categories: hard fraud and soft fraud. Hard fraud occurs where someone intentionally fakes a loss in order to illegally collect from an insurance policy. Soft fraud occurs where someone exaggerates a legitimate loss in order collect more from an insurance policy than the actual loss entitles them to receive.

Penalties for "Hard Fraud" and "Soft Fraud"

Penalties depend on the type of fraud. Soft fraud is generally considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, community service, and/or probation. Hard fraud can result in imprisonment up to five years, or up to twenty years if bodily injury resulted (for example, where a person sets their house on fire to collect on the home insurance policy and neighbors are injured).

While insurance fraud is a serious crime, our criminal defense attorneys are prepared to defend you in connection with all types of insurance related charges you may be facing, both federal and state.

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WHAT MAKES CLG DIFFERENT?

The Criminal Lawyer Group our network of attorneys as a strategic asset to your federal criminal defense. Due to our nationwide presence, we can do more than just offer a single strategy or viewpoint on your case. Rather, we can tap into a plethora of shared knowledge and information that is inaccessible to other law firms.

Federal and State Criminal Defense Experience

Whether your case is complex or a new question before the federal court, our team has the experience to effectively represent you. Through a team approach to federal criminal defense, Criminal Lawyer Group taps into this experience, no matter where you or your case are located.

Access to Top-Rated Lawyers From Around The Country

At The Criminal Lawyer Group, our clients receive access to top-rated federal defense lawyers from around the country, without losing the care and attention that you and your case deserve.

Every Client is a High-Profile Client

We remain steadfastly committed to regular communication and careful explanation of any accusations against you. Our team is trained to be effective and efficient in every action, but never sacrifice the quality of your defense for any reason. We are familiar with the federal district courts and available to meet in-person, when needed.

Our Local Firm Mentality

Our commitment to a local law firm mentality is maintained even as we handle complex and high profile federal cases. This client-oriented approach to federal criminal defense leads to improved outcomes for our clients and better legal services along the way.

If you are seeking representation for a federal or state criminal matter in Miami, contact us today.

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BECOME A PART OF CLG

Criminal Lawyer Group continues to expand and add new, highly capable lawyers to our team, but our focus on federal defense always accounts for individual clients.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a part of our nationwide network of federal defense attorneys, contact us today.