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White Collar Crimes

The Morris Law Firm, P.A. can help defend your future from white collar crime charges, regardless of their severity. Melinda Morris, managing partner of The Morris Law Firm, P.A., is an experienced white collar crime attorney and former state prosecutor. She represents clients throughout St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Seminole, Bradenton, Largo, and nearby areas in these cases.

Additionally, Ms. Morris received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree concurrently with her Law Degree from Stetson University. This unique combination of business legal education is of critical importance and can benefit the defense of your case. The Morris Law Firm is licensed to practice in both State and Federal Court.

St. Petersburg White Collar Crime Lawyer

A “white collar crime” is a class of crimes committed by professionals, business people and public officials that generally involves a deliberate attempt to mislead others. Most white collar crimes involve some form of theft or fraudulent representation for the purpose of obtaining money under misleading circumstances. Read more information about the following white collar crime offenses in Florida:

Most white collar offenders are ordinary people who for a multitude of reasons make rash or uncharacteristically poor decisions. They see their way out of difficulty through illegal and fraudulent means. Often, a good defense can be found for these situations. Often, white collar crimes are prosecuted by the federal government. It is critical that your defense team is experienced in the federal court system.

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White Collar Crime Information Center

White Collar Crime Information Center

What Happens Next

What Happens Next

The Morris Law Firm, P.A. is a full-service criminal defense firm that will:

Strive To Minimize Your Court Appearances:

  • We can appear in Court on your behalf and save you time from missing work.
  • It may be possible to resolve your case without your appearance in Court or the need for a trial.

Investigate, Assess & Analyze Your Case:

  • With experience as a Former State Prosecutor, we will assess the case against you and explain the possible outcomes.
  • We will research all legal issues in your case and pursue the best possible resolution for you.

Negotiate on Your Behalf:

  • With our local knowledge of the State Attorney’s Office, we will immediately communicate with the Prosecutor and negotiate on your behalf. In many cases, the Prosecutor has the discretion to file reduced charges or to not file charges at all.

Prepare Your Defense:

  • We will strive to file any necessary motions to dismiss or motions to attempt to exclude evidence in an effort to maximize your opportunity for a positive outcome.
  • We will represent you at any necessary pre-trial hearings, pre-trial motions, and at trial.

Conclude Your Case:

  • We will continue to advocate your case at sentencing, to attempt to reduce any negative impact on you.
  • If possible, we will work on your behalf to have your records sealed or expunged.

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White Collar Crime Charges

White Collar Crime – The Charges

Being able to navigate the multifaceted laws surrounding alleged white collar charges is a primary concentration for the Morris Law firm. In various cases, attorney Melinda Morris has had white collar prosecutions discharged completely or received probation with no jail time sentencing for offenders. If you are guilty of the alleged crime, our attacking tactics can produce significantly reduced verdicts and save you a great sum of money in penalty fines and restitution.

A white collar charges consist of an assortment of crimes committed by professionals, commercial companies and public officers that typically comprises a thoughtful effort to deceive others. Several white collar crimes involve some category of theft or fraudulent representation for the determination of obtaining currency in deceptive conditions.

With defending white collar crimes there are numerous important details to take into consideration. White collar crimes are frequently prosecuted by the federal government. It is essential that your attorney is qualified in dealing with the federal court system.

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White Collar Crime Potential Defenses

Potential Defenses

White Collar crime defense is often a complicated matter that lends itself to multiple interpretations. Law enforcement officials often target legitimate business professionals because they are not educated in industry practices. These accusations usually result in a tremendous opportunity for wrong conclusions. The Morris Law Firm can employ specialists such as forensic accountants and industry experts to strengthen our client’s defense. Our firm has both business and legal experience that can benefit your case.

Potential Defenses include:

  • Insufficient Evidence
  • Lack of Intent
  • Failure to Read Miranda Warnings
  • Illegal Search or Seizure
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Constitutional Issues

The investigation of a white collar crime is often long and requires countless involvement. They have the tenacity to last quite a few months or years. Occasionally, individuals are unaware that they are objectives of a white collar criminal investigation and will know nothing of the investigation until they are charged. An experienced white collar attorney should handle your case as early as possible. When involve with white collar crimes you should consult an experienced attorney before making any statements to any law enforcement officer.

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White Collar Crimes Potential Punishments

Potential Punishments

You May:

  • Impact your ability to gain future employment, government benefits, or professional licensing or certifications
  • Have your employment or military service status negatively affected
  • Face jail or prison time
  • Face probation
  • Face fines
  • Be required to pay restitution
  • Be required to perform community service
  • Have a permanent criminal record

A single accusation involving a White Collar Crime can have a tremendous impact on a variety of levels, including some of the following areas:

  • Criminal Liability
  • Civil Liability
  • Administrative Actions
  • Professional Licensing Issues

White collar crime penalties are contingent on the precise circumstances. For example, charges of embezzlement can be negotiated if it is verified that the embezzler planned to return what was procured. White collar crime punishments consist of being charged with a felony in a federal or state court. The specific court system through which white collar offenders penalties are decided is dependent on the conditions of the crime. White collar punishments can include both fiscal fines and fees and jail time sentencing. The severity of white collar crimes defines the stringency of the penalties.

§775.0844 White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act

  1. This section may be cited as the “White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act.”
  2. Due to the frequency with which victims, particularly elderly victims, are deceived and cheated by criminals who commit nonviolent frauds and swindles, frequently through the use of the Internet and other electronic technology and frequently causing the loss of substantial amounts of property, it is the intent of the Legislature to enhance the sanctions imposed for nonviolent frauds and swindles, protect the public’s property, and assist in prosecuting white collar criminals.
  3. As used in this section, “white collar crime” means:
  1. The commission of, or a conspiracy to commit, any felony offense specified in:
  1. Chapter 560, relating to the Money Transmitters’ Code.
  2. Chapter 812, relating to theft, robbery, and related crimes.
  3. Chapter 815, relating to computer-related crimes.
  4. Chapter 817, relating to fraudulent practices.
  5. Chapter 825, relating to abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elderly persons and disabled adults.
  6. Chapter 831, relating to forgery and counterfeiting.
  7. Chapter 832, relating to the issuance of worthless checks and drafts.
  8. Chapter 838, relating to bribery and misuse of public office.
  9. Chapter 839, relating to offenses by public officers and employees.
  10. Chapter 895, relating to offenses concerning racketeering and illegal debts.
  11. Chapter 896, relating to offenses related to financial transactions.
  1. A felony offense that is committed with intent to defraud or that involves a conspiracy to defraud.
  2. A felony offense that is committed with intent to temporarily or permanently deprive a person of his or her property or that involves a conspiracy to temporarily or permanently deprive a person of his or her property.
  3. A felony offense that involves or results in the commission of fraud or deceit upon a person or that involves a conspiracy to commit fraud or deceit upon a person.
  1. As used in this section, “aggravated white collar crime” means engaging in at least two white collar crimes that have the same or similar intents, results, accomplices, victims, or methods of commission, or that are otherwise interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated incidents, provided that at least one of such crimes occurred after the effective date of this act.
  2. Any person who commits an aggravated white collar crime as defined in this section and in so doing either:
  1. Victimizes 10 or more elderly persons, as defined in s. 825.101(5);
  2. Victimizes 20 or more persons, as defined in s. 1.01; or
  3. Victimizes the State of Florida, any state agency, any of the state’s political subdivisions, or any agency of the state’s political subdivisions, and thereby obtains or attempts to obtain $50,000 or more, commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of chapter 921 or any other law, an aggravated white collar crime shall be ranked within the offense severity ranking chart at offense severity level 9.
  2. In addition to a sentence otherwise authorized by law, a person convicted of an aggravated white collar crime may pay a fine of $500,000 or double the value of the pecuniary gain or loss, whichever is greater.
  3. A person convicted of an aggravated white collar crime under this section is liable for all court costs and shall pay restitution to each victim of the crime, regardless of whether the victim is named in the information or indictment. As used in this subsection, “victim” means a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of the offense for which restitution may be ordered, including any person directly harmed by the defendant’s criminal conduct in the course of the commission of the aggravated white collar crime. The court shall hold a hearing to determine the identity of qualifying victims and shall order the defendant to pay restitution based on his or her ability to pay, in accordance with this section and s. 775.089.
  1. The court shall make the payment of restitution a condition of any probation granted to the defendant by the court. Notwithstanding any other law, the court may order continued probation for a defendant convicted under this section for up to 10 years or until full restitution is made to the victim, whichever occurs earlier.
  2. The court retains jurisdiction to enforce its order to pay fines or restitution. The court may initiate proceedings against a defendant for a violation of probation or for contempt of court if the defendant willfully fails to comply with a lawful order of the court.

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Domestic Violence Resources


FBI – White Collar Crime

The Federal Bureau of Investigation provides valuable information and resources on White Collar Crimes.

US Secret Service – White Collar Crime

The Official United States Secret Service site for White Collar Criminal investigations

Florida State Statutes Related to White Collar Crimes:

Chapter 815 – Computer-related crimes

Chapter 817 – Fraudulent practices

Part I: – False pretenses and frauds, generally ( § 817.02-817.569)

Part II: – Credit card crimes ( § 817.57-817.685)

Part III: – Credit services organizations ( § 817.7001-817.706)

Part IV: – Credit counseling services ( § 817.801-817.806)

Chapter 818 – Sale of mortgaged personal property; similar offenses

Chapter 831 – Forgery and Counterfeiting

Chapter 895 – Offenses concerning Racketeering and illegal debts

Chapter 896 – Offenses related to financial transactions

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White Collar Crime Frequently Asked Questions



What is white collar crime?


Who prosecutes white collar crimes?


What is larceny?


What is embezzlement?


What is fraud?


What is identity theft?


What is the crime involving receiving stolen property?

Q What is white collar crime?
White collar crimes typically refer to a type of crime committed by business people, entrepreneurs, public officials, and professionals through deception, as opposed to street crimes which tend to involve force and violence. Examples of white-collar crimes include embezzlement, bribery, extortion, larceny, fraud (e.g., health care, tax), bankruptcy, telemarketing, insurance, mail, securities and commodities law violations, environmental law violations, price fixing, racketeering, loan sharking, black market operations, obstruction of justice and perjury, identity theft, perjury and computer fraud.
Depending on whether federal or state law has been violated, white collar crimes can be prosecuted at the federal or state level. Penalties vary, but in some cases can result in large fines, restitution, and jail time.

Q Who prosecutes white collar crimes?
A White collar crimes can violate state and/or federal criminal laws. If the crime is more complicated and deals with suspects, victims and/or stolen property that cross state or national boundaries, the federal government is typically better equipped to investigate and prosecute these crimes. If the federal government is handling the case, it may be the FBI that investigates the case and the United States Attorney’s Office that prosecutes the case. Some white collar crime cases start out being investigated at the state level by local police or state agencies, and then the case is picked up by the federal government. Melinda Morris, managing partner of the Morris Law Firm, is a white collar lawyer licensed to practice in both State and Federal Court.

Q What is larceny?
Larceny is the “taking and carrying away of tangible personal property of another by trespass with intent to permanently (or for an unreasonable time) deprive the person of his interest in the property.” Larceny must involve personal property, and it must be capable of being possessed and carried away. Thus, real estate, services, and other intangibles cannot be objects of larceny.
The commission of larceny requires that someone else’s property actually be taken away, and the intent to take it, without paying for or returning it, must also be present. Both elements are needed by definition for larceny to occur.

Q What is embezzlement?
A Embezzlement is defined as “the fraudulent conversion of property of another by a person in lawful possession of that property.” Crimes of this nature generally have involved a relationship of trust and confidence, such as an agent, fiduciary, trustee, or treasurer, but can include situations as simple as a restaurant cashier keeping money that belonged in the till.

Q What is fraud?
Fraud is defined to be “an intentional perversion of truth” or a “false misrepresentation of a matter of fact” which induces another person to “part with some valuable thing belonging to him or to surrender a legal right.”
In addition to the traditional criminal definition of fraud, there are many regulatory laws that have very specific rules that must be complied with. If you do not follow these rules to the letter, you could be charged with and convicted of fraud.

Q What is identity theft?
A Identity theft is the crime of obtaining the personal identifying information of another person and using that information to obtain property or information to which he is not entitled, and doing so without the permission of the person whose personal identifying information is used. This is a very rapidly growing area of white collar crime, is international in scope, and is often done with sophisticated computer hacking techniques, but can also be accomplished by simply surfing trash cans. Penalties vary from state to state, but many identity theft offenses are felonies which carry state prison terms.

Q What is the crime involving receiving stolen property?
Receiving stolen goods is generally buying or acquiring the possession of property knowing (or believing in some jurisdictions) that it had been obtained through theft, embezzlement, larceny, or extortion by someone else. The crime is separate from the crime of stealing the property. To be convicted, the receiver must know the goods were stolen at the time he receives them and had the intent to aid the thief. Paying for the goods or intending to collect the reward for returning them are not defenses. Depending on the value of the property received, receiving-stolen-property is either a misdemeanor or a felony.
There are numerous federal laws that make it a federal crime to receive stolen property (e.g., vehicles, securities) if the property received was or had been in interstate commerce.

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White Collar Crime How We Can Help You

How We Can Help You

White-Collar Crimes

Melinda Morris of Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients as a white collar crime attorney in Pinellas County. These types of charges are very severe and may seriously affect your social and professional reputation. The involvement of the state government and possibly the FBI makes it even harder to follow without knowledgeable counsel. Attorney Melinda Morris has years of practical and functional knowledge when it comes to white-collar crimes in Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Sarasota County, and nearby areas. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg to find out how to best protect your rights and future opportunities.