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Palm Beach, Florida – What Happens When The Rich Get Arrested

whitehall-estate-palm-beach_180x120-150x120There is rich. There is super rich. Then there is Palm Beach. Palm Beach, Florida is a world unlike anywhere else – an ultra-exclusive island awash with spectacular estates and fabulously manicured lawns. It is a place where new money and old money play all day and party all night long.

There are a few towns in America that are wealthier than Palm Beach but there is no town with more history or snob appeal.

Even the rich get into trouble now and then. So what happens when a Palm Beacher gets arrested? They don’t retain a gentleman attorney from their country club. They go across Royal Park Bridge and hire an aggressive street fighter from West Palm Beach.

Getting Arrested in Palm Beach

Bail, of course, is a non-issue for a Palm Beacher. Most defendants are booked, bonded and released even before the engines of their Bentley’s get cold. Some don’t even see the inside of a police station. When Rush Limbaugh was charged for a prescription drug violation in 2006, he was fingerprinted and photographed – but never handcuffed.

Former Florida prosecutor Paula Russell said, “When it comes to rich and famous defendants, the facts speak for themselves. I believe that the state attorney’s office over the years has given significant breaks to people with a lot of money.”

Life is different when you live in Palm Beach.

Famous Palm Beach Crimes

James SullivanFirst Degree Murder

James Sullivan – a Palm Beach social climber was charged with murdering his wife because she wanted a divorce and half of his money. In 1987, a hit man posing as a flower deliveryman put three bullets into her head. Sullivan fled to Thailand until he was extradited many years later. He was sentenced to life without parole in Georgia.

William Kennedy Smith – Sexual Assault

William Kennedy Smith is the nephew of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. In 1991, Smith was tried and acquitted on a charge of rape. In 2004, a woman alleged that Smith had sexually assaulted her in 1999, and brought a civil action against him. Smith denied her charges, calling them “outrageous” and saying that “family and personal history have made me unusually vulnerable to these kinds of charges.” In 2005, the court dismissed the woman’s lawsuit.

Fred Keller – First Degree Murder

Fred Keller – a multi-millionaire Palm Beach businessman was charged with killing his ex-wife in 2003. The case dragged through the courts for years. In 2007, Keller was convicted of first-degree murder. He died of leukemia weeks before a restitution hearing where he stood to lose his fortune to his victims.

Jeffrey Epstein – Underage Prostitution

In 2005, Jeffrey Epstein – a Palm Beach financier – was charged with felony solicitation of prostitution. The police alleged that Epstein had paid several underage girls to perform sexual acts on him. When police searched Epstein’s Palm Beach home they found numerous photos of nude young girls throughout the house. He served a year in jail and had to register as a sex offender.

Rush Limbaugh – Prescription Drugs

Rush Limbaugh, the radio talk show host and Palm Beach resident, was charged with “fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions” in 2006. He was booked, photographed, and fingerprinted – but not handcuffed – and then released on $3,000 bail. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge if Limbaugh paid $30,000 and undergo therapy with his physician.

Bernard Madoff – Securities Fraud, Investment Advisor Fraud, Money Laundering, Perjury, Theft

Bernie Madoff was the mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Losses are estimated to have cost clients almost $20 billion. Madoff had a winter home in Palm Beach. Now he has a lifetime home at the Butner Federal Prison in North Carolina.

John Goodman – Possible DUI

Last month, Palm Beach socialite and Polo Club owner John Goodman was involved in fatal automobile accident. Initial police reports said Goodman ran a stop sign and smashed his $250,000 black Bentley convertible into a victim’s car. The victim died at the scene. The reports also said investigators suspect alcohol or drugs played a role. The Sheriff’s office is still investigating the crash.

Do you live in Palm Beach? Have you been arrested or are you under investigation for a criminal charge? You don’t have to go far to get yourself a good Palm Beach criminal attorney. It’s only a short drive over Royal Park Bridge to West Palm Beach.

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