Ever since the hearings two weeks ago on the confirmation of the Supreme Court Justice, there has been an explosion of people coming forward, mostly women, claiming they were sexually abused years and years ago.
These allegations are from former employees, family members, former dates, former classmates, stepdaughters, and old girlfriends. How do you defend against someone claiming you did something years ago? The problem becomes a nightmare when the person accusing you claims that they were underage when they claim it happened. It is one thing to defend against something that they say happened last month and quite another to defend against something ten years ago.
For some crimes there is a statute of limitations that gives the State a certain number of years to file the charge. For some sexual battery crimes, particularly when a minor was involved there may be no limit as to how long the State can wait. We have been defending date rape cases for decades.
Sometimes, women do not want to take responsibility for their own actions.
They may say “I was drunk” and you should not have taken advantage of me. They may say that “we were stoned” or “under the influence” at it is your fault. I have found that many times, the accusation is simply false or both people are at fault. Over the years, I have found that many times, it is a stepdaughter simply making a false claim to get rid of her mother’s new partner.
News flash……teenage girls sometimes are drama queens and masters of manipulation. If they falsely accuse their mom’s new man, DCF is called, the police show up, the man gets arrested and gets kicked out and the real dad comes back into their life and to their rescue. They become the focus of everyone’s attention. Sadly many female prosecutors in a knee jerk sympathy reaction believe the false accusation and file the charges.
Most employees never intended to find themselves involved in some type of theft or embezzlement situation. Most officers in home owners associations, clubs, unions and organizations never set out with a plan to steal. Embezzlement is often a crime that is a result of some other underlying problem such as a medical emergency, drug addiction, gambling addiction or personal crisis. It often starts with something small like taking money from petty cash or stealing supplies. Most embezzlement situations grow slowly until they are totally out of hand. Ultimately, they end in arrest, public humiliation and embarrassment and sometimes jail. Embezzlement can be prosecuted in State Court but if Federal wire fraud laws or money laundering is involved the case can end up in United States District Court.
Sometimes it is possible to prevent an arrest and work out a restitution plan if the problem is addressed early on. Over the years, I have represented bookkeepers, corporate officers, tellers and trusted employees that have been accused by their employer of financial improprieties. Over the years, I have represented bookkeepers, corporate officers, tellers and trusted employees that have been accused by their employer of financial improprieties. As an experienced criminal lawyer, I have found that many times, the company or organizations is more interested in getting their money back than putting someone in jail. A caregiver stealing from an elderly person, a lawyer taking trust funds or a professional financial advisor manipulating an account can find themselves held to a higher standard. The Florida sentencing guidelines may call for a State prison sentence, which for a professional is catastrophic. A felony conviction is a life altering event that may keep you from ever again getting a good job.
It may be possible to solve the problem and prevent an arrest, if during the investigation, the lawyer can open negotiations with both the victim and the State attorney. Never try and talk your way out of it alone. Never confess or admit to anything. Never meet with an investigator from your employer or anyone in law enforcement. Your statement may provide the missing link and ultimately be used against you. It is critical that you “lawyer up” immediately before doing or saying something that will come back to haunt you. As a former Federal Agent and forensic accountant, I have a good grasp on tracing funds and understanding complicated financial situations. Not all defense lawyers really understand numbers and accounting. If multiple employees are involved a conspiracy to defraud can be charged. Early intervention is absolutely critical. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, or are under investigation, or simply have a guilty conscience call today for a free consultation. I can be reached at either my office in Sarasota at 941 366 3506 or my Ft. Myers office at 239 334 8890