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Federal Defense Attorney Explains Contracts Crimes

federal contract crimesGovernment officials and elected representatives are supposed to carry out their duties with the utmost of ethical integrity. In order to avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest, there are strict rules in place regarding contracts with those holding public office.

In certain cases, specific types of contractual agreements are unlawful and criminal charges can result.

It is important to understand the rules that govern contractual agreements with government officials and elected representatives and to understand under what circumstances entering into such agreements is a violation of federal law.

If you are accused of entering into unlawful contracts, it is also imperative that you get help from a federal criminal attorney who can provide the representation that you need as you fight serious charges. LV Criminal Defense represents clients in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California who have been accused of federal crimes. We understand the ins-and-outs of federal investigations and criminal proceedings in federal court and we can provide the advocacy and support you need to fight serious charges.

To find out more about how our firm can help you to respond when you have been accused of wrongdoing in connection with contracts, give us a call.

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Federal Laws on Unlawful Contracts

Federal laws on contracts that can be considered unlawful are found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 23. There are 12 statutes within this section addressing legal issues related to contracts; however, three of those statutes have been repealed.

The remaining statutes addressing issues related to federal contracts include the following:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 431: This statute prohibits members of Congress, delegates to congress, or resident commissioners to undertake, execute, hold, or enjoy any contract or agreement entered into on behalf of the United States or its agencies for their own use or benefit. Agreements that are made in violation of the statute are void, and any money that changes hands in consideration of such a contract must be repaid. If an officer of a department or agency with authority over the contract says money should be repaid and this order is refused, a lawsuit can be filed to recover the money.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 432: This statute mandates that a fine be assessed from any officer or employee of the United States who acts on behalf of the United States or a U.S. agency to directly or indirectly make an agreement with a Member of Congress, a Delegate to Congress, or a resident commissioner.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 433: Within this statute, exceptions are set forth to the other provisions of Chapter 22 prohibiting contacts. 18 U.S. Code section 433 makes clear that 18 U.S. Code Sections 431 and 432 do not apply to contracts, agreements, entered into or accepted by any incorporated company for the company’s benefit. Sections 431 and 432 also don’t apply to the purchase or sale of bills of exchange or other property when the bills of exchange or other property are ready for delivery and payment is made at the time when entering into the agreement. Loans, advances, discounts, purchase agreements, and repurchases agreements also don’t count if entered into under certain laws such as the Federal Farm Loan Act or the Home Owners Loan Act of 1933.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 435: Under this statute, any officer or employee of the United States who knowingly contracts for public improvements, or who knowingly contracts to erect public buildings, repair publish buildings, or furnish public buildings, can be fined or imprisoned for up to a year or both if the contract involves paying a larger sum of money than the sum appropriated for the designated purpose.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 436: Under this statute, any officers, agents, or employees of the U.S. or any government agency or department can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined for contracting with persons or corporations to hire out prison labor. Officers, agents and employees can also be imprisoned and fined under this statute for permitting wardens, agents, or officials of penal or correctional institutions to hire out prison labor.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 440: This statute applies to postal service employees. Postal employees can be imprisoned for up to a year and fined for entering into contracts or acting as agents, with or without compensation, for contractors before the Postal Service.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 441: This part of the law applies to supply contracts for postal supplies. It prohibits making any contract for furnishing supplies with someone who has engaged in price fixing or has undermined the competitive bidding process. Violating the law can result in imprisonment for year or longer.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 442: Under the terms of this statute, the Director of the Government publishing office, superintendents of printing or binding, and any assistants or directors are prohibited from having any direct or indirect interest in the publication of newspapers or periodicals. These individuals also cannot have any interest in printing, binding, engraving or lithographing of any kind and cannot enter into contracts for furnishing paper or other materials connected to these activities.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 443: This statute prohibits willfully secreting, mutilating, obliterating, or destroying records of a war contractor related to the negotiation, award, performance, cancellation or termination of a war contract.

If you have been accused of violating any of these laws, it is important to reach out to a federal defense attorney who can help you.

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Getting Help From a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

LV Criminal Defense will provide the assistance you need to fight serious charges. To find out how we can help you when you are accused of crimes related to contracts, give us a call today. Our federal criminal defense law firm serves clients in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, and surrounding states and we have the legal knowledge and skill to help you reduce the chances of conviction. Call now to learn more.

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