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When Are Fraud Charges Investigated By the Federal Government?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Dallas white collar crimes defense lawyer

The federal government has jurisdiction over certain types of “white collar crimes,” such as fraud, embezzlement, forgery, and more. Criminal penalties for federal offenses are often much more severe than punishments for state charges. If you are convicted of a federal crime, you could face incarceration in federal prison and substantial fines. If you are being investigated by a federal agency, it is critically important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

What Constitutes Fraud Under Federal Law?

The United States Code Title 18 defines federal fraud as knowingly committing one of the following actions:

  • Concealing or falsifying a material fact through any device, scheme, or trick

  • Making a false or fraudulent statement or representation

  • Creating or using a document containing false or fraudulent statement or entry

An important component of fraud is that the person committing the alleged crime is doing so for personal or financial gain. More specifically, you could be convicted of a federal fraud offense if you:

  • Committed fraud involving a financial institution such as a bank, including credit card fraud and check fraud

  • Engaged in “insider trading” or stock fraud

  • Misused privileged financial information

  • Defrauded a U.S. government agency such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • Attempted to commit or committed fraud using mail, telephone, Internet, or through another form of communication across the state or national borders

  • Committed certain computer offenses that involve the federal government, are interstate in nature, or are utilized in foreign commerce

The severity of federal fraud charges and possible penalties can vary dramatically based on the nature of the alleged offense. 

Possible Defenses Against Fraud Charges

Just because you are accused of fraud does not mean that you will be convicted of the crime. The prosecution must prove that you committed the elements of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is not sufficient evidence to prove this, you will not be convicted. Because fraud requires intent, you may be able to argue that you did not knowingly or intentionally defraud any person or entity. If you were coerced or forced into committing the offense, you may also be acquitted of the charges. Another possible defense to a fraud charge is an illegal search and seizure. If the evidence against you was illegally obtained without a proper search warrant, it may not be admissible in court, and you may be cleared of the charges.

Contact a Plano, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being investigated by a federal agency like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the resulting charges will likely be filed in a federal district court. If this is the case, it is extremely important that you speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Collin County white collar crimes attorney Darlina Crowder has received more than 200 not guilty verdicts and acquittals for her clients. To schedule a free consultation at The Crowder Law Firm P.C., call us today at 214-303-9600.

 

Source:
https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title18/part1/chapter47&edition=prelim

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