Entrapment: What It Is And What You Should Do

When it comes to white-collar crimes like embezzlement, money laundering, and securities fraud, authorities have been known to go the extra mile to ensure successful arrests and convictions. In some cases, they are not above entrapping the target of their investigation.

Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer (or someone acting on their behalf, such as a confidential informant) induces you to commit a crime that you would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. In Florida, the law recognizes two types of entrapment: subjective and objective.

What Is Subjective Entrapment?

Subjective entrapment takes place when the law enforcement agent induces you to commit an offense that you were not predisposed to do. To claim it as a defense, you and your attorney must prove the following:

  • You were encouraged or otherwise induced by law enforcement officers or agents to commit a crime so they could collect evidence against you
  • You did it as a direct result of this inducement or encouragement
  • The party who induced or encouraged you was a law enforcement officer or their agent
  • They used persuasion methods that would motivate someone who was overwise not inclined to commit the crime
  • You were not ready to commit the crime.

In other words, if you can show a lack of predisposition, the burden of proof shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in fact predisposed to embezzle company funds, make false statements on a Securities Exchange Commission filing, or commit whatever other white-collar crime you were charged with.

What Is Objective Entrapment?

With the defense of objective entrapment, you are asserting that the police overstepped their bounds. For example, an undercover officer encouraged you to commit credit card fraud by taking someone else’s credit card from their purse or wallet without their permission, using it to make an online purchase, and urging you to do the same. You may be able to claim objective entrapment because the police officer committed an illegal act to induce you to follow suit.

When raising the defense of objective entrapment, your attorney will ask the court to scrutinize the circumstances of your arrest to determine whether the police went too far. If the court concludes in the affirmative, the charges against you may be dismissed.

When it comes to prosecuting white-collar crimes, federal and state prosecutors are operating from a position of huge advantage. They have substantial resources and years of skill in creating and presenting compelling cases. You need a competent and aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect you from the outcome of police entrapment.

If you are arrested for a white-collar crime in Florida or believe that you may be under investigation, contact Cove Law at (954) 921-1121 right away. Do not make any voluntary statements to the police, prosecutors, and other members of law enforcement until you have retained an attorney who can protect your rights.

Written by Andrew Cove

Cove Law has significant experience defending federal investigations and formal actions by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Finance Protection Board and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as similar matters on the state level by the respective state Attorney General’s Offices and other local agencies.