While parsing thru the new fiscal year report from the Federal Sentencing Commission, your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney found a surprising statistic struggling to be set free among the gender based findings. The report unexpectedly notes that women outnumber men in only one category of crime in Federal Criminal Sentencing, which crime do you think it is? 

with cash in her hands mary caswith cash in hand degas' portrait of mary cassatt  could be charged with embezzlement in federal court in clearwater, largo & tampa bay florida.
Degas, Mary Cassatt & Cash, 1880

Here’s a hint. It’s not drug trafficking though at nearly 30% of all federal offenses women commit, it represents by far the highest number of women offenders. 

Yet the number of men committing federal drug trafficking far exceeds women who are often used by men as low level operatives or drug mules to transport or sell drugs.

So that leaves us with the intriguing question of which Federal Crime women commit in greater numbers than men. As the Sentencing Commission report notes it’s embezzlement:

In the fiscal year 86.5 percent of all offenders were men, compared with 86.5 percent in fiscal year 2007, and 86.0 percent in fiscal year 2002. Among female offenders, the most common crime was drug trafficking (28.8% of all women offenders). Embezzlement was the only crime for which female offenders outnumber male offenders (50.3% to 49.7%)

Before you decide to hire only men to keep those accounts of your business safe, lets look at why women commit federal embezzlement more than men. 
A look at the Federal Code Chapter 31 for Theft and Embezzlement reveals that there’s a blurred line between mere Theft and the more sophisticated theft within an Embezzlement. Embezzlement is a theft that also violates a fiduciary duty of trust to an employer or other entity. I suspect that women happen to be in greater positions of trust, not only because they’re more trustworthy, but because their jobs may tend to place them in closer proximity to liquid assets, such as the teller’s access to cash at a bank
A recurring problem in complex Federal Grand Jury Embezzlement Indictments of alleged white collar crime in Tampa Bay Florida Federal Court is over-broad statutes that result in over-criminalization where Defendants are charged with crimes such as embezzlement without proven criminal intent nor knowledge that what was done was illegal. For example, a company book keeper is ordered by the Company’s Chief Financial Officer to keep a second set of books for unknown reasons. Should she be charged in a federal embezzlement scheme?
If you’ve been charged with a white collar crime such as fraud, forgery, theft or embezzlement, you should seek the advice of a Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer who will find the best possible solutions to protect your future.


After the recent scandal where administrators failed to timely report child abuse at Penn State, Florida has taken action to make failure to report child abuse a felony. According to press reports colleges face significant fines and individuals face felony charges if found guilty under this act:

The Protection of Vulnerable Persons law requires anyone to report child abuse to the Florida Abuse Hotline. Failure to do so could result in felony charges, or if someone at a university fails to report, the school could face fines of up to $1 million.

does the van gogh painting of a mother & baby show abuse? in Florida failure to report suspected child abuse is a felony.
Van Gogh, Baby Abuse?, 1888

Though Clearwater Child Abuse Lawyers agree that the intent of the law is commendable with the goal of protecting children from harm, the law is an example of over-criminalization
How will Florida law enforcement and prosecutors determine that a person knew that an alleged abuse of a child was clearly occurring? Once the police suspect abuse rather than just arresting and prosecuting the abuser, the case will escalate into an investigation of everyone who came into contact with the child yet failed to report any abuse.
The tragedy is that the law will not be seen as overly broad until multiple wrongful arrests ruining the innocent lives of folks who happened to have contact with an abused child, but can’t easily prove they never suspected any child abuse. 
For example, a vigilant bus driver notices strange bruises on a child, suspects abuse and reports it. Should the home room teacher, the sunday school teacher, the coach, the music teacher, the school principle all be charged with felonies for failing to report what they may never have noticed? 
And unlike the previous Florida law requiring reporting of suspected child abuse this law applies to anyone in contact with the child not just parents or caretakers. 
If you’re being investigated by law enforcement for violating Florida law contact an experienced Clearwater Criminal Attorney for Defense consultation and help.


Here is an excellent article by Lucian Dervan, law professor – wait, wait – keep reading- he’s written an impressive article – and even better it’s free, about the overcriminalization we face as Americans. 

The problem is that prosecutors have so much leverage that  they can virtually force even innocent, or at least questionably guilty, defendants to plead guilty without ever testing ever expansive legal theories with a trial by jury, thereby ensnaring those who never even intended to do a crime. 

This is especially true in white collar crime, cases involving fraud, allegations of theft or misrepresentation by individuals or corporations which a few years ago would have been subject to civil court jurisdiction and legal suits rather than marked as criminal. 

Here’s an example of the absurdity of over-ciminalization involving a client I represented in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida who was more or less charged by Microsoft with copyright infringement. My investigation revealed that Microsoft paid for local law enforcement personnel to fly all over the country for special Microsoft ‘seminars’ for law enforcement to learn about Microsoft allegations of potential criminal misconduct. Shouldn’t law enforcement always be unbiased? Shouldn’t civil disputes over copyright infringement be handled by civil courts not criminal courts? The prosecutor dropped the charges a week before the trial was to begin – yet the mere allegations, the costs of his defense and the destruction of my client’s life due to his arrest can not be given back to him. 

If there was no plea bargaining, if every case went to trial, prosecutors would have to defend overly-broad laws, new novel legal theories as well as tenuous and technical charges in open court which would lead them to make wiser filing decisions in the first place to make fair decisions based on whether justice is best served by bringing the prosecution at all with the facts at hand.

Here’s a link to Professor Dervan’s Over-criminalization article from The Journal of Law, Economics and Policy:
Overcriminalization 2.0: The Symbiotic Relationship 
Between Plea Bargaining and Overcriminalization by Lucian Dervan :: SSRN
White Collar Crime Criminal Defense Attorney in Clearwater, FL

Is Congress eroding the criminal intent requirements:“Overcriminalization” describes the trend in America – and particularly in Congress – to use the criminal law to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making proper use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives. Criminal law is supposed to be used to redress only that conduct which society thinks deserving of the greatest punishment and moral sanction.
Supreme Court of the United States
Federal Crimes Trial Lawyer & Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida
Crime & Federalism: Why Is Our Criminal System So Screwed Up?
‘Mens Rea’ Legal Protection Erodes in U.S. as Federal Criminal Code Expands – WSJ.com
File:Pierre-Paul Prud'hon - Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime.JPG

Justice and Divine Vengeance in pursuit of Crime — 1808 oil-on-canvas by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon