Public Corruption Lawyers in Sarasota, Florida
Musca Law Will Help You Win Your Public Corruption Case
Public corruption is generally a broad category, encompassing a spectrum of different criminal acts, but each of these cases shares the same level of sensitivity and cause for discretion. In a situation where a person has been accused of public corruption, only the most highly qualified form of legal representation will help this defendant avoid a severe clash with legal officials, generally harsh penalties, and long-term damage to his/her career.
Musca Law is prepared to help you overcome these challenges. Our team retains 150+ years of legal experience with public corruption charges. Our lawyers will work as a team to offer the most high-quality legal counsel available and will utilize all your strengths for the purpose of building a strong defense. Each of our clients receives the best service out there, and we are guaranteed to secure your future.
For more information, get in touch with our office in Sarasota, Florida at (941) 909-3234 to speak with an experienced attorney today.
Public Corruption Is Widely Scrutinized
An important fact to consider is that public corruption (regardless of the severity of the crime) is widely scrutinized by public officials. Why is this the case? Simply put, this particular category of criminal activity directly impacts the judicial system, public morals, and the political hierarchy (plus more). In the end, people who are charged with public corruption crimes will feel the brunt force of the government in a case. As such, these men and women must take immediate action to combat these accusations and hold onto their rights.
Your political career does not have to end due to false allegations. Here is a closer look at crimes that constitute public corruption in Florida:
- Money Laundering
- Other Offenses
On that note, lawyers with experience in public corruption cases will build a stronghold to defend your rights and counteract the accusations regarding fraud, kickbacks, and more.
The Severity of Bribing Public Officials
Simply put, bribery occurs when people intentionally and purposefully offer a bribe (e.g. reward) that has not been approved by the Florida State Law. As part of Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 838.015, people who bribe public officials will offer these bribes in an attempt to subtly influence the system. For example, someone may offer a gift to influence the execution of an activity or the establishment of a program that (they strongly believe) is a negative aspect to society.
To further understand the severity of bribery cases in Florida, let’s take a closer look at some terms associated with the crime, listed in Title XLVI Chapter 838.014:
- Benefit: any object or additional item that has an advantage which may include act of kindness/charity.
- Bid: an invitation to exchange as part of a settlement for benefits.
- Commodity: properties, goods, or additional wares used as part of production, employment, and additional activities.
- Harm: loss or misfortunate inflicted on victims.
The Risks of Illegally Rewarding and Influencing Public Officials’ Behavior
Under state law (Chapter 838.016), illegal compensation/influencing (a form of bribery) is a felony. Any person who willingly (with malicious intent) attempts to reward or successfully influence a public figure, who willingly accepts the award in question, will be punished for a 2nd-degree felony. In the end, culprits can face a 15-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine (possibly).
The Severity of Threats toward Public Servants
As expected, verbal and/or physical threats toward public officials are as equally serious forms of public corruption, as shown in Chapter 838.021 of the Florida Code. People who intentionally and voluntarily make any attempt to harm or threaten any public officials are committing a direct violation of public law by:
- Influencing/swaying the public official’s performance.
- Forcing the public servant to alter his/her influence.
Keep in mind that anyone who physically harms an official for either of the aforementioned reasons will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony and will face punishment constituting a 15-year prison sentence and/or a $10,000 fine.
Furthermore, people who threaten public officials with violence will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 10-year prison sentence and/or a $5,000 fine.
The Complexities of Embezzlement Crimes
Embezzlement occurs when people take property that another person has delegated to him/her, constituting an act of theft in the State of Florida. While money is commonly the item involved in embezzlement crimes, thieves may target other pieces of private property. The actual act of embezzlement takes place when the criminal transfers this stolen property to a third party.
As shown in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 812.014, any person who makes any attempt to embezzle another person’s property and takes one of the following measures to carry out this act will have committed an act of general theft:
- Deprives the individual of his/her rightful ownership of this property.
- Uses this property for his/her benefits and goals.
Depending on the value of the property and the severity of the crime (including damages), the culprit can ultimately face the following charges:
- 1st-degree felony (punishable by a fine of $10,000 to $15,000 and/or life imprisonment).
- 2nd-degree felony (punishable by a fine of $10,000 and/or prison time of no more than 30 years).
For more details, please review Chapter 812.014 of the Florida Statutes.
What You Need to Understand about Embezzlement Crimes
Embezzlement is a serious crime in the State of Florida but is still relatively simple in regards to its process. Here is a closer look at some important details (presented in FS Chapter 812.081) you should keep in mind when reviewing your embezzlement case:
- Copy: a duplicate, replication, photograph, complete remodeling of an item, formula, device, pattern, or system (or part of these items).
- Trade secret: all or part of a formula, stratagem, pattern, or system (or combination of these elements) owned by members of a business and created to provide these business associates an advantage.
In this same chapter, the Florida Code stresses that any person who makes any attempt to embezzle property or has embezzled property in an effort to impede the item’s advantage has committed a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 10-year prison sentence, and/or a fine of $5,000.
Consider the Complications of Embezzlement across County Lines
As shown in Title XLVII Chapter 910.10, if a person makes any attempt to steal property by sinister means (e.g. larceny, embezzlement, or any theft crime) will be put on trial in the county where this person has attempted to wield control over the stolen property. For example, if a person committed an embezzlement crime in Dade County, he/she would be tried in a Dade County Court.
Some Notes about Kickbacks and Fraud
As the name suggests, kickbacks occur when an influential, powerful person misuses resources to force or bribe another person or group to give wealth (as a reward) to these people or groups. Through the means of unlawful bidding, the culprit will extend requests to the organization in question, even if this group made a considerably low offer on a piece of property.
The Unfortunate Reality of Patient Brokering in Florida
Some (unfortunately) common cases, healthcare facilities and related groups may offer services in exchange for rewards from patients. In this practice of accepting kickbacks through direct/indirect means in cash (or other payments), this patient solicitation (infamously known as patient brokering) is a felony under Florida Law (see Chapter 456.054 for more information). This same code, Florida doctors and other healthcare providers cannot pay for or receive any payment for referrals.
Any person who commits the crime of patient brokering (or solicitation of any kind) will be punished in a variety of ways, depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of the criminal activity:
- Any person who serves as officers, partners, agents, attorneys, or any representatives for businesses, syndicates, and/or joint ventures that exchange kickbacks will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 10-year prison sentence, and a $5,000 fine. The court will also force culprits to pay an extra fine of $50,000.
- People who constitute officers, partners, or any representatives for businesses, firms, joint ventures, or syndicates that exchange kickbacks in which transactions include no less than 10 patients and no more than 20 will face charges of a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year prison sentence, and/or a $100,000 fine.
- Any person who serves as a member or representative of any of these areas of business that exchange kickbacks in which transactions include 20 or more patients will face charges of a 2nd-degree felony, punishable by a 15-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $10,000. The court will order all offenders to pay an extra fine of $500,000.
Please review Florida Statute Title XLVI chapter 817.505 for more details about solicitation.
Exchanging/Receiving Bribes and Kickbacks in Nursing Homes
In many cases, people or groups may offer additional services to men and women interred in Florida nursing home facilities as part of this kickback process. As shown in Chapter 400.17, any person who exchange kickbacks in nursing homes will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a 1-year prison term, and a $1,000 fine.
How Is a Person Punished if He/She Commits Fraud?
Simply put, fraud occurs when a person intentionally makes an attempt to deceive at least one person and attempts to inflict some sort of damage. Two examples of this crime include bankruptcy fraud and credit card fraud.
Florida Statute Title XXXVII Chapter 626.8797 and accompanying proof of loss statement reinforce that any person who presents proof of losses and/or damages in an attempt to deceive people will have committed a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 10-year prison sentence, and/or a fine of $5,000.
How Cheating Fits into the Category of Fraud
People who cheat (or make an attempt to do so) have committed an act of gross fraud (or attempted fraud) as part of common law (see Chapter 817.29 for more details). People who have committed the act of cheating will be charged for a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 10-year prison sentence, and a fine of $5,000.
Important Facts about Fraud and Accompanying Security Interest
In technical terms, people commit fraud accompanied by security interest when they have paid off this security interest to protect the money that is owed to another person. As shown in Chapter 817.562, this crime has taken place when the culprit has:
- Got rid of the secured property and does not account for any of these losses to the secured party (individual or group).
- Removed all traces of the secured property, a violation of the security agreement.
Under this same code, people who break this part of the Florida State Law will face one of two methods of punishment, depending on the severity of the crime and the property value:
- For property valued at $300 or higher, the offender will face charges of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence, and/or a fine of $5,000.
- For property valued at any amount less than $300, the offender will face a 1st-degree misdemeanor charge, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence, and/or a fine of $1,000.
Details about Fraud Cases for a Florida Criminal Jury
Here is a closer look at the details surrounding criminal cases for public corruption:
- Criminal Jury Instructions Chapter 14: Theft
- Criminal Jury Instructions Chapter 19: Bribery
- Criminal Jury Instructions Chapter 20: Fraud
Get the Help of a Public Corruption Lawyer in Sarasota Today!
Public corruption is a serious crime to have on your shoulders. In the end, charges for these offenses can completely destroy your relationships and leave long-lasting scars on your reputation. Only with the help of a lawyer with experience in public corruption cases can you get your life back on track. With a member of Musca Law, you can reach a reasonable resolution that will not result in criminal allegations or charges. Best of all, the final product will inflict the least amount of damage on your life and help you regain your footing after a grueling court case.