Florida Court Discusses Evidence of Guilt in White Collar Crime Cases

White collar crimes, like fraud and conspiracy, typically do not involve bodily harm but they are nonetheless staunchly prosecuted. As with any other criminal offense, the prosecution bears the burden of proving each element of a white crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and if it cannot, the defendant should be found not guilty. Recently, a Florida court discussed what constitutes sufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict in a white collar crime case, in a matter in which the defendant appealed her conviction. If you are charged with a white collar crime it is advisable to contact a Sarasota criminal defense attorney to discuss your potential defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with multiple white collar crimes, including theft of government funds, identity theft, and wire fraud. The charges arose out of her filing false claims for relief funds that were intended to help farmers struggling with drought and fire. Following a jury trial, she was convicted as charged and sentenced to 28 months in prison. She appealed, arguing, among other things, that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the guilty verdict entered against her and, therefore, she should be granted a new trial.

Evidence Establishing Guilt in White Collar Crime Cases

Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, if the defendant so moves, a court may vacate any guilty verdict and grant a new trial if it is required in the interest of justice. In doing so, the court must evaluate the evidence and weigh the credibility of the witnesses. The Rules do not grant the courts leeway to reevaluate evidence and set aside verdicts simply because they believe some other result would be more appropriate, however.

Rather, to necessitate a new trial, the evidence must weigh so heavily against the verdict that it would constitute a miscarriage of justice to uphold the verdict. The court noted that new trials are rarely granted; it only happens in cases in which the evidence of guilt, while legally adequate, is marred by discrepancies and uncertainties.

In the subject case, the defendant sought a new trial because the government’s primary witness offered conflicting testimony and contradicting statements and was compromised by his potential sentence, and the evidence against her was thin. The court was not persuaded by either argument, noting other evidence corroborated the witness’s testimony.  As such, it affirmed the defendant’s convictions.

Confer with an Assertive Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney

White collar crimes can be challenging to defend, and the precise defenses available vary depending on the facts of the case. If you are charged with a white collar crime, it is critical to retain a skilled attorney who will argue aggressively on your behalf. The assertive Sarasota criminal defense lawyers of Hanlon Law have ample experience helping people charged with white collar crimes fight to protect their interests, and we can help you seek a successful outcome. You can reach Hanlon Law through the online form or by calling 941-462-1789 to set up a meeting.

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