Economic Crimes

Economic crimes, specifically identity thefts, are the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Economic crimes impact financial institutions and innocent individuals.

Identity theft is used as a tool by terrorists and other criminals in an attempt to evade the law. Law enforcement agencies have found that the best way to approach any economic crime is to follow the money trail.

Whether the court has jurisdiction depends on where the illegal act occurred and who the actual victims are. A victim can include a person who suffers the actual or potential loss, but suffering a loss is not necessarily required to be considered a victim.

Local law enforcement agencies, including the Tampa Police Department, record criminal complaints, assist victims by contacting other relevant investigative and consumer protection agencies, as well as work with federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to identify and apprehend violators.

Attorneys for Economic Crimes in Tampa, FL

Many of our cases involve criminal financial fraud investigations by the Bureau of Financial Investigations in the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Many of these cases involve securities violations and money transmitting crimes.

We also represent clients during investigations by law enforcement officers with the financial crime units of a local police station or sheriff’s office.

These crimes often include property crimes including embezzlement, exploitation of the elderly/disabled, grand theft, scheme to defraud, dealing in stolen property, burglary, robbery, and death investigations.

A criminal defense attorney can meet with the investigator early in the case to help them make a more informed decision regarding criminal allegations, sometimes before they have even attempted to interview witnesses or interrogate suspects.

These investigations are often complex and involve joint missions within one agency or with several law enforcement agencies.

We also represent business owners or companies when they suspect that an employee, vendor, or contractor is engaged in theft from the company.

In many cases, an attorney representing the business during the criminal investigation can help the business recoup restitution that would otherwise go uncollected and follow up with law enforcement to make sure all of the relevant information is provided to law enforcement.

If your case involves an economic crime in Tampa, Hillsborough County, then call a white collar crime attorney in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm.

We represent clients in a variety of cases involving economic crimes at both the state and federal level. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a qualified attorney today.

Call 813-250-0500.

Types of Economic Crimes and Identity Theft

The economic crimes divisions of local law enforcement agencies investigate a wide variety of economic crimes including:

  • Depositing Worthless Item with Intent to Defraud under (F.S.§832.05[3]): Depositing counterfeit, stolen or other worthless checks for the purpose of fraudulently increasing the dollar amount posted to the account to which the individual then removes the monies before the financial institution discovers the checks are fraudulent.
  • Forgery under (F.S.§831.01): Whoever falsely makes (counterfeits), alters, forges an official public record, document or payment instrument, with intent to injure or to defraud.
  • Forgery of a Credit Card under (F.S.§817.60[6]): Any person who: with intent to defraud a purported issuer or a person or organization providing money, goods, services, or anything of value; or any other person; falsely makes, embosses, or alters in any manner a credit card or utters such a credit card or who, with intent to defraud, has a counterfeit credit card or any invoice, voucher, sales draft, or other representation or manifestation of a counterfeit credit card in his/her possession, custody or control.
  • Forged or Fake Driver’s License / Identification Cards under (F.S.§ 322.212): It is unlawful (felony) for anyone to knowingly possess or display any blank, forged, counterfeit, stolen, fictitious or unlawfully issued driver’s license or identification card or any instrument resembling or representing a driver’s license or identification card.
  • Driver’s License (Making or Possession of Material to Make) under (F.S.§831.29): It is unlawful for any person to make or have materials or instruments intending to make counterfeit driver’s license or identification cards.
  • Fraudulent Use of Credit Card under (F.S. §817.61): The use of credit cards, ATM cards or debit cards and/or ATM, credit debit account numbers, that are stolen, altered, forged, counterfeit or obtained through fraud, resulting in the theft of money, merchandise or services.
  • Counterfeit Payment Instruments under F.S.§831.28): It is unlawful for any person to have in their possession a counterfeit payment instrument or to counterfeit a payment instrument with the intent to defraud a financial institution, account holder, any person or organization. These include forged checks, counterfeit bills, deeds, money orders, traveler’s checks, and credit/debit cards.
    • Check Fraud under (F.S. §832.05): Checks that are stolen, altered, forged, or counterfeit, written on a closed account, or that have had payment stopped that are uttered, cashed or deposited resulting in the theft of money, merchandise or services.
  • Financial Scams and Cons under (F.S. §812.014 or F.S.§817.034): Commonly referred to as “Bank Examiner” scam, “Pigeon Drop” scam, “Canadian Lottery” scam, “Spanish Lottery” scam and “Nigerian Fraud” scam.
    • Advanced Fee Scheme under F.S.§817.034): The deceiving a victim into parting with their monies by convincing them that they will receive a substantial financial benefit in return for providing some modest payment to be made in advance.
  • Elderly Exploitation under F.S.§825.103: Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or use an elderly person’s funds or assets with intent to temporarily or permanently deprive that person of the use, benefit or possession of those assets by a person who: (a) stands in a position of trust and confidence with the elderly person; (b) has a business relationship with the elderly person; or (c) exploits an elderly person who lacks capacity to consent.

The Economic Crimes Section at the Tampa Police Department

Each year, officers with the Economic Crimes Section in Tampa, FL, conducted thousands of investigations. In 2016, for example, TPD officers with the Economic Crimes Section investigated 1,451 cases that resulted in the arrest of 74 alleged offenders.

Detectives from the Economic Crimes Section in the Tampa Police Department investigate a variety of white collar crimes including:

  • Schemes to Defraud
  • Identity Theft as it relates to Tax Fraud
  • Fraudulent Use of Credit/Debit Cards
  • Embezzlement
  • Identity Theft
  • Forgery
  • Securities Fraud
  • Counterfeit documents

Members of the Economic Crimes Section of TPD have been federally credentialed and are assigned to:

  • the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal InvestigationsStolen Identity and Refund Fraud Alliance;
  • the United States Secret Service’s Tampa Bay Electronic Crimes Task Force; and
  • the United States Secret Service Financial Investigations Strike Team.

Additional Resources

Economic Crimes Unit of CID HCSO – Visit the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for Sheriff Chad Chronister to learn more about how economic crimes are dealt with by the Criminal Investigations Division (CID). The HSCO Criminal Investigations Division is managed by Major Robert Ura. The detectives in the Economic Crime Unit of the CID investigates crimes of an economic nature including offenses that inflict serious financial hardship in the county. The Economic Crimes unit investigations the most serious offenses committed by criminal enterprises.

Fighting Economic Crime is a Priority for new State Attorney Andrew Warren – Visit the Tampa Bay Business Journal to learn more about why the new State Attorney for Hillsborough County, Andrew Warren, says that investigating and prosecution economic crimes is one of his main priorities. The State Attorney’s Office has earned several accolades from federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice for his prosecution of complex white-collar crime cases.

Consumer Protection Division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office – Visit the website of the Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida Office of the Attorney General to learn more about the Consumer Protection Division. The CPD is the civil enforcement authority for violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act that occur across counties in Florida.

This article was last updated on Friday, July 31, 2020.