In another example of the high stakes involved in federal criminal prosecutions, the U.S. Attorney for South Florida filed charges against a well-regarded and high-profile Miami businessman this week. Authorities allege that the businessman took more than $40 million from investors by deceiving them about his company, spending much of it on a lavish lifestyle.
While it will take some time for the actual facts to come out in this case, this defendant already faces a trial in the court of public opinion. Sensational securities fraud charges often make front-page headlines and this entrepreneur's reputation may suffer irreparable harm before he even appears in court.
This businessman, a former recipient of Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year" award, is behind a company that claimed to be designing a new material for building cheap housing in poor, hurricane-prone areas. As a result of the important philanthropic nature of this project, it attracted a number of high-profile investors, including NBA stars, a former Florida governor and a number of other big-name connections.
Unfortunately for this defendant, the highly visible nature of this company may have played a big role in attracting an aggressive government investigation. These kinds of cases make it easy for federal authorities to showcase their enforcement work in the public spotlight. When a defendant already enjoys a high-profile status as a successful businessman or community leader, criminal allegations attract that much more attention.
Government investigators bring significant resources to important cases like this, making sure to amass an enormous body of evidence before announcing a prosecution. This makes it important to consult with a defense attorney that can offer extensive experience with large-scale federal cases.
Check back later this week for more coverage of this case.
Source: ABC News, "Miami Businessman Claudio Osorio Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Millions From Investors," Suzanne Yeo, Dec. 10, 2012