Making false statements or engaging in fraud can lead to a criminal investigation and can result in criminal charges. In many cases, state officials will take action in causes of fraud or when false statements are made. You could be investigated by local police departments and charged with a crime in state court.
However, fraud and false statements can, under certain circumstances, result in you facing federal charges.
Federal criminal charges can be harder for you to cope with as a defendant because of the extent of resources the federal government can devote to investigations and because penalties are usually more serious when you are convicted of a federal offense. Finding the right federal criminal defense attorney is key to trying to reduce the likelihood of conviction or limit the penalties you face.
LV Criminal Defense can help. Our firm has extensive experience representing defendants in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Oregon who have been charged with fraud and false statements offenses or other federal crimes. We can evaluate the evidence against you, help you to investigate the charges, and work closely with you to either prepare a case in court or negotiate a favorable plea agreement.
To find out more about how our firm can help with the charges you are facing so you can fight for your future, give us a call today.
There are many different kinds of unlawful fraudulent conduct that could result in federal criminal charges, and the statutes defining different types of illegal actions are found in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 47. This part of the federal penal code contains 40 different statutes defining different types of fraud, explaining when fraud is unlawful, and establishing the penalties that defendants could face if convicted of a fraud crime. The federal statutes found within Chapter 47 that relate to fraud include the following:
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Each of these statutes has its own definitions and specific elements that prosecutors must prove.
Working with an attorney will help you to understand the specifics of your case and to develop a strategy for refuting accusations against you connected with fraud or false statements.
While 18 U.S. Code Chapter 47 details many different types of fraud, including fraud involving mortgages, farm loan bonds, and loan and credit applications, there are also other general bank fraud statutes as well in other sections of the penal code.
For example, 18 U.S. Code section 1344 details the crime of bank fraud. This offense is defined as:
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Defendants should be aware of how serious bank fraud is and should make certain that they understand not just the general bank fraud statute but also other offenses defined in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 47 including fraud connected with farm loan bonds and credit bank debentures defined under 18 U.S. Code section 1013 and fraud on loan and credit applications under 18 U.S. code section 1014.
Identity fraud is also a very serious criminal offense under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 47. There are several statutes within this chapter that relate to identity fraud including 18 U.S. Code section 1028 and 18 U.S. Code section 1028A.
18 U.S. Code section 1028A makes it a crime to:
Penalties could include up to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine if the fake ID appears to be a U.S. passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, or other identification document issued by the U.s. government. There are also other circumstances in which a penalty of up to 15 years of imprisonment is possible, including when the person committing an offense with a fake ID obtains valuable items of $1,000 or more because of the offense, or when a defendant produces or transfers more than five IDs.
When the fake ID offense is intended to facilitate domestic terrorism, the maximum penalty could include up to 30 years imprisonment. When it is to facilitate drug trafficking or a crime of violence, the maximum penalty could be up to 20 years in prison. In other circumstances when the crime is less serious, however, then the maximum penalty could be just five years imprisonment. A federal defense lawyer who can help you determine what possible penalties you could face given the nature of charges.
Identity issues are also defined in 18 U.S. Code section 1028A. According to this statute, anyone who knowingly transfers or uses fake ID or someone else’s ID without legal authorization and whose conduct relates to a felony violation can be sentenced both for the felony as well as for an additional two years of imprisonment.
However, if the offense is connected to terrorism, then an additional five years of imprisonment can be added on to any other punishments when false ID is involved.
In addition to offenses related to fraud and false statements in 18 U.S. code Chapter 47, there are also numerous federal statutes throughout the U.S. penal code that make various types of election fraud a crime. Some examples of different types of election fraud offenses include:
These are also many other offenses that could lead to charges, including registering to vote and voting when not a citizen, providing false information when registering to vote, and submitting materially defective voter registration applications. LV Criminal Defense can provide assistance responding to accusations of any type of federal offense connected with voting or elections.
Healthcare fraud can lead to federal criminal charges as well, and many different people could commit healthcare fraud including care providers and patients.
18 U.S. Code section 1347 defines the crime of healthcare fraud to include:
A defendant can be charged for any involvement with a scheme to take money or property that is under the custody or control of health benefit programs. Penalties could include up to 10 years imprisonment, or up to 20 years imprisonment if serious bodily injury results because of the scheme. If anyone dies due to the health care fraud, then the defendant could be imprisoned for up to life in prison.
Those who commit healthcare fraud could also face civil penalties under the False Claims Act for offenses including billing for services that are not performed and upcoding, or charging for more expensive services than were actually provided.
Under the False Claims Act, civil penalties could include up to $11,000 per false claim as well as three times any damages sustained by the government because of the false claims. There are also anti-kickback statutes in Section 1128 of the Social Security Act that could result in a defendant facing civil penalties.
Mortgage fraud is also a serious criminal offense in the United States, and it is a crime that could lead to federal charges both under general bank fraud statutes as well as under specialized laws addressing fraud connected to mortgage loans.
In 2009, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) was enacted to provide more power to the federal government in prosecuting people who allegedly committed mortgage fraud. Under FERA, defendants who are convicted of mortgage fraud offenses could potentially face prison sentences of up to 30 years of imprisonment alone with fines up to $1 million.
Many different kinds of behaviors can constitute mortgage fraud, and both borrowers as well as lending professionals such as mortgage brokers and mortgage issuers could be charged with fraud offenses.
LV Criminal Defense can provide guidance on the statutes that could apply in mortgage fraud cases, the specific elements of the crime, and the penalties that could be imposed.
The United States government has made paying federal taxes compulsory and any attempts to evade tax obligations could lead to criminal penalties as well as substantial civil penalties. There are many different federal laws that relate to tax fraud crimes and that impose harsh penalties on all those who violate the rules when it comes to providing correct and accurate information to the IRS and paying all taxes that are due.
For example, 18 U.S. Code section 7201 imposes penalties for any willful attempt to evade or defeat tax. Under this statute, any person who tries, in any matter, to evade or defeat taxes imposed by Title 26, the Internal Revenue Code, could be charged with a federal felony. Penalties could include a fine up to $100,000, or $500,000 for corporations, as well as imprisonment for up to five years.
Tax law cases can be complicated and technical, so it is important to make sure you are represented by a qualified federal defense lawyer with knowledge of the Internal Revenue Code when responding to charges.
LV Criminal Defense also provides representation in circumstances where clients are accused of fraud in connection with federal grant funding. Those who receive federal grant money who deceive the government about how the award money is spent can be charged with misconduct.
Defendants who engage in grant fraud could be charged under embezzlement laws if they misappropriated and misused grant money for unauthorized purposes. Those who bribe, or attempt to bribe public officials could be charged under bribery and public corruption laws. Officials could be charged as well if they take bribes, and defendants who make threats to obtain grant money could also face criminal charges.
Finally, defendants could be charged for mail fraud or wire fraud when they engage in grant fraud, each of which could carry penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment or 30 years imprisonment if the funding was connected to a declared natural disaster or if the fraud involved improperly obtaining information from any financial institution.
Criminal and civil penalties could also be applied for fraud in connection with federal grants under the False Claims Act. When a defendant is facing civil penalties, there is a reduced burden of proof so it is more likely that the defendant will face consequences for alleged wrongdoing.
Government officials and those interacting with public workers are held to high standards of conduct in order to avoid misappropriation of public funds. As a result, there are many laws related to government fraud, including statutes found within 18 U.S. Code section 47.
Some of the different statutes that criminalize fraud in connection with the government include 18 U.S. Code section 1002, which addresses the possession or use of false papers to defraud the government; 18 U.S. Code section 1007 which imposes penalties for fraud connected with transactions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and 18 U.S. Code Section 1010, which defines fraud offenses in connection with transactions with the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Federal Housing Administration.
Officials in a position of public trust must be above reproach in their conduct and ethics, so those who work in government agencies and departments or who hold elected office can be subject to very harsh penalties for fraud offenses.
Those who do business with the government or who claim benefits through the government can also face serious charges if they attempt to misappropriate funds. Because government funding is generated by tax revenue and money held by the federal government should be used for the public good, these charges are serious ones.
There are also incentives in place to report wrongdoing and misconduct, including laws protecting whistleblowers and laws entitling those who report fraud against the government to receive a portion of the money the government is able to recover in fraud claims cases.
Responding to accusations of government fraud can be complicated, especially when whistleblowers are involved, and LV Criminal Defense can provide the assistance and support that defendants need to aggressively respond to accusations that could derail a career, result in substantial civil penalties, and even result in a loss of freedom.
Federal Trade Commission – Filing a Complaint
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – Fraud Resources
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20219
USA.gov – Online Safety
If you have been accused of a federal crime related to false statements and you live in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas, you should reach out to LV Criminal Defense today. Call us now to get a passionate, committed advocate on your side to fight for your future.