Fraud and False Statements Explained by Federal Criminal Lawyer

federal fraud defenseMaking 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.

Federal Laws On Fraud

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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  • 18 U.S. Code section 1001: Statements or entries generally
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1002: Possession of false papers to defraud United States
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1003: Demands against the United States
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1004: Certification of checks
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1005: Bank entries, reports and transactions
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1006: Federal credit institution entries, reports and transactions
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1007: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation transactions
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1008: Repealed. Pub. L. 101–73, title IX, 18 U.S. Code section18 U.S. Code section 961(g)(1), 962(a)(3), Aug. 9, 1989, 103 Stat. 500, 502]
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1010: Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration transactions
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1011: Federal land bank mortgage transactions
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1012: Department of Housing and Urban Development transactions
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1013: Farm loan bonds and credit bank debentures
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1014: Loan and credit applications generally; renewals and discounts; crop insurance
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1015: Naturalization, citizenship or alien registry
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1016: Acknowledgment of appearance or oath
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1017: Government seals wrongfully used and instruments wrongfully sealed
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1018: Official certificates or writings
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1019: Certificates by consular officers
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1020: Highway projects
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1021: Title records
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1022: Delivery of certificate, voucher, receipt for military or naval property
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1023: Insufficient delivery of money or property for military or naval service
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1024: Purchase or receipt of military, naval, or veteran’s facilities property
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1025: False pretenses on high seas and other waters
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1026: Compromise, adjustment, or cancellation of farm indebtedness
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1027: False statements and concealment of facts in relation to documents required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1028: Fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1028A: Aggravated identity theft
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1029: Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1030: Fraud and related activity in connection with computers
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1031: Major fraud against the United States
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1032: Concealment of assets from conservator, receiver, or liquidating agent
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1033: Crimes by or affecting persons engaged in the business of insurance whose activities affect interstate commerce
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1034: Civil penalties and injunctions for violations of section 1033
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1035: False statements relating to health care matters
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1036: Entry by false pretenses to any real property, vessel, or aircraft of the United States or secure area of any airport or seaport
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1037: Fraud and related activity in connection with electronic mail
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1038: False information and hoaxes
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1039: Fraud and related activity in connection with obtaining confidential phone records information of a covered entity
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1040: Fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits

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.

Federal Laws on Bank Fraud

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:

  • Defrauding a financial institution or
  • Committing fraud in order to obtain money, assets, securities, credits, or any other property that is owned by or under the custody or control of a financial institution. Fraud includes false or fraudulent pretenses, promises, or misrepresentations.

The penalty for this offense is imprisonment for up to 30 years as well as up to $1 million in fines.

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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.

Federal Laws on Identity Fraud

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:

  • Knowingly produce a fake ID without legal authorization
  • Knowingly transfer an ID with intent to use it unlawfully or knowingly transfer five or more IDs without legal authority
  • Knowingly possess a fraudulent identification document with the intent to use it to defraud the United States
  • Knowingly transfer document-making tools and equipment with the intent for the equipment to be used in producing fake IDs
  • Knowingly transfer, possess, or use an ID belonging to someone else without lawful authority and with the intent to commit any unlawful activity in violation of federal laws or that is a felony under state laws

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.

Federal Laws on Election Fraud

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:

  • Paying people to register to vote or paying for votes in any election when a federal candidate’s name is on the ballot. These offenses are illegal under 52 U.S. Code section 10307 and U.S. code section 597.
  • Misconduct by election officials while carrying out their duties. Examples could include making false tabulations of votes or stuffing ballot boxes. These types of conduct are prohibited under 18 U.S. Code sections 241 and 242.
  • Intimidating voters, which is illegal under 18 U.s. Code section 245.
  • Voting multiple times in a federal election or impersonating voters, which can be illegal acts under 52 U.S. Code sections 10307 and 20511.
  • Registering people to vote even though those individuals are not eligible to vote, which is unlawful under 18 U.S. code sections 1015, 611, and 20511. Examples could include registering convicts with criminal convictions that prevent them from voting and registering people who aren’t U.s. citizens.

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.

Federal Laws on Healthcare Fraud

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.

Federal Laws on Mortgage Fraud

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.

Federal Laws on IRS Fraud

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.

Federal Laws on Grant Fraud

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.

Federal Laws on Government Fraud

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.

These incentives entice many insiders to come forward and provide evidence of fraud offenses – which can make it harder for defendants to fight 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.

Resources on Fraud

Federal Trade CommissionFiling a Complaint
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

Office of the Comptroller of the CurrencyFraud Resources
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20219
(202) 649-6800

USA.govOnline Safety

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Getting help from a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

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.