Frank A. Rubino, ESQ.

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Florida construction company faces white collar crime charges

A Florida construction company has been hit with a lawsuit after a recent ongoing Fort Lauderdale dispute. Fraud, considered a white collar crime, is only one of the counts faced by Cambridge Construction after Happy Land accused the company of failing to pay subcontractors and causing liens to build up against the developer. The suit was recently filed in Broward County Circuit Court and involves a $4.75 million construction contract.

In early 2014, Cambridge Construction won a contract to build a 36,000 square foot retail store at 105 North Federal Highway. However, Happy Land alleges that the builder failed to pull permits for subcontracting work, such as HVAC systems and plumbing, before beginning and caused other problems resulting in delays and liens against the developer. In addition, the lawsuit claims that these subcontractors weren't even paid, despite Happy Land paying its construction bills to Cambridge on time.

According to the suit, Happy Land contends that after at least nine liens added up totaling over $550,000 against them, they eventually were forced to pay $230,000 to clear the subcontractors' claims. In July 2016, the developer fired Cambridge Contractors and instead hired Coastal Construction to finish the work. Happy Land is taking Cambridge to trial on counts of breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and a "per se" violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. A defendant, the CEO of Cambridge Construction, has not commented to date.

Cases of fraud, breach of contract and others, as faced by the company in this case, fall under the umbrella term white collar crime, as they are non-violent in nature. Defendants accused of similar crimes need a lawyer with experience in such matters to give them their best chance of defense. An attorney skilled in criminal defense will be able to guide the accused through the legal process and offer much needed counsel to possibly help minimize the negative impact of the accusations.

Source: therealdeal.com, "Cambridge slapped with suit alleging fraud over retail project in Fort Lauderdale", Sean Stewart-Muniz, Nov. 9, 2016

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