Securities fraud is a felony offense under both federal and Florida laws. In addition to harsh criminal penalties, individuals accused of investment crimes may face damage to their career, business, and reputation. If you are under criminal investigation or being indicted on Florida securities fraud charges, it is crucial to protect your rights. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg securities fraud lawyers understand the complexities of securities law and white collar crime cases. We have the skill and dedication to defend businesses and individuals against criminal fraud allegations, as well as provide thorough legal guidance during the proceedings.Florida Blue Sky Laws and Securities Fraud
Securities fraud generally encompasses a broad range of activities that involve deceit or fraud in connection with investment securities. Much of this area is regulated under federal law and enforced by the United States Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Florida Blue Sky Laws provide additional regulations concerning the sale of securities in, to, or from Florida in order to protect the investing public against fraud. Titled the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, these laws require the registration of certain securities as well as the registration of investment advisers, brokers, dealers, issuers, and firms conducting business in Florida. Registration violations, including selling securities without a license, may be a criminal offense. If you are unsure as to whether you may have committed a violation of this nature, a seasoned securities fraud lawyer in St. Petersburg can assess the facts of your case.
The Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act also makes securities fraud a crime under state law. Accordingly, a person may be criminally prosecuted for securities fraud under Florida law if they falsify or conceal material facts with respect to a securities investment. Specifically, the Act provides that it is unlawful for a person, in connection with the rendering of investment advice, or in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of any security, to directly or indirectly: (1) employ any device, scheme, or fraud, or (2) obtain money or property by means of an untrue statement or the omission of a material fact, or (3) engage in any transaction, practice, or course of business that operates, or may operate, as fraud or deceit upon a person.
The consequences arising from a securities fraud charge may be serious. The offense is a third degree felony and, if the defendant is convicted, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Securities fraud may be a first degree felony if it is committed by obtaining money or property from five or more people, which is worth an aggregate value of over $50,000. The penalties for a first degree felony conviction may include a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Any criminal charges for related offenses, such as racketeering or embezzlement, may result in additional penalties. Defendants may also face civil penalties for securities fraud and/or federal criminal charges. A skilled St. Petersburg securities fraud attorney can help you defend against the full range of potential charges.Defenses to Securities Fraud
The scope of a securities fraud case is generally limited by the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations requires the state to prosecute securities fraud within five years after the alleged violation was committed. The state of limitations, therefore, may be a defense to securities fraud charges filed beyond the five year period. Depending on the facts of the case, other defenses to securities fraud may be entrapment, statutory exemption, prosecutorial misconduct, or insufficient evidence to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Defending a criminal securities fraud charge involves a thorough understanding of the facts of the case. Because each situation is different, it is best to determine an appropriate strategy with a defense attorney who has been informed of the specific details of your case.Seek Legal Representation From a Securities Fraud Lawyer in St. Petersburg
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we can provide the criminal defense representation you need to fight a securities fraud charge. Our white collar crime attorneys serve residents of St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and many other areas in Pinellas County. If you need assistance regarding a federal or state criminal matter, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced defense attorneys. We are available by phone at (727) 286-6141 or online.