Florida Court Discusses Restitution in White-Collar Crime Cases

White-collar crimes generally do not involve physical harm, but they nonetheless cause significant damages. In many cases, the courts will order someone convicted of a white-collar crime to pay restitution for the financial losses they caused. Regardless of the defendant’s resources, such orders will often require the defendant to pay the entire restitution amount immediately, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling issued in a case in which the defendant was convicted of identity fraud and mail theft. If you are accused of a white-collar crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Florida white-collar crime defense attorney regarding your rights.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant pleaded guilty to multiple counts of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft for the fraudulent liquidation of numerous pre-paid college accounts that were owned by other people. She agreed to pay restitution in excess of $40,000 as well. The defendant’s presentence investigation report (PSI) recommended, in part, that upon her release, she be required to make payments towards any unpaid restitution in the amount of $150 per month.

Allegedly, at the defendant’s sentencing hearing, she requested that the court reduce the amount of the monthly restitution payment. The district court denied her request but verbally advised her it would reassess the monthly amounts owed at a later date if needed. It issued an order requiring her to pay restitution in the amount of $42,500. The written judgment required her to pay slightly more. The government moved to correct the written judgment to state that the restitution amount was due immediately. The defendant opposed the motion, which the court granted. The defendant appealed.

Restitution Orders in White-Collar Crime Cases

The federal rules permit a district court to correct clerical errors in orders and judgments that arise from oversights and omissions. If an oral sentence is vague, then the court may consider any extrinsic evidence demonstrating the judge’s intent or the defendant’s understanding of what the sentence was to determine the district court’s intent at the time it imposed the sentence.

In the subject case, the court found that the PSI expressly stated that the monthly amounts paid after the defendant’s release would be to reduce any unpaid restitution, thereby implying that the restitution she owed was due immediately after her sentence. Further, the court noted that restitution is typically due right after sentencing, and the defendant’s attorney was aware of this general practice. As such, the court found that the correction did not modify the terms of the original sentence and affirmed the district court ruling.

Confer with a Capable Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tampa

People convicted of white-collar crimes often not only have to serve lengthy prison sentences, but they also have to make restitution for the losses they caused. If you are charged with a white-collar crime, it is smart to confer with an attorney as soon as possible. The capable Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law can advise you of your options and help you to seek the best result available under the facts of your case. You can reach Hanlon Law via the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.