Financial crimes like fraud are taken extremely seriously by federal authorities and the government, and the criminal penalties associated with a federal fraud conviction can have devastating consequences for defendants and their loved ones. Not only do offenses like embezzlement and mortgage fraud typically involve some sort of deceit, misrepresentation or trickery, which is the hallmark of a fraud crime, these types of crimes often have multiple victims and can result in significant financial loss to others, which makes fraud a particularly contemptible crime in the eyes of the law. If you are accused of a fraud offense like embezzlement, mortgage fraud, immigration fraud or bankruptcy fraud, you should have the highest-quality defense possible, and that is where our federal criminal defense attorneys come in. Contact Federal Criminal Defense Pro today to find out how we can help you defend against federal fraud charges.
Experienced Federal Fraud Defense Lawyers
Federal fraud cases can be extraordinarily complex, and if you have been charged with a fraud offense in federal court, we can guarantee that the U.S. Attorney’s office, in partnership with the FBI and other federal agencies, will devote a great deal of manpower, time and money to investigate and prosecute the crime. It is in your best interest then, to have a federal criminal defense attorney working just as hard to defend you against these charges. Federal Criminal Defense Pro has a proven history of success defending the rights of individuals and businesses accused of financial crimes like fraud, and we are prepared to aggressively represent you at any stage of your criminal case. Even if you haven’t yet been charged with fraud, if you have reason to believe you may be the target of a fraud investigation by the federal government, retaining a federal criminal defense attorney immediately is the best way to get out in front of the charges and improve your chances of a favorable outcome. In some cases, with early intervention, we are able to prevent formal charges from ever being filed.
The evidence presented in federal fraud cases can be extensive and complicated, and these types of criminal offenses require the expertise of a seasoned, trial-tested federal criminal defense attorney who is familiar with federal criminal law and understands the federal court process, which is very different from the state court process. When choosing a defense attorney to defend you against fraud charges, your first concern should be whether the attorney has experience handling cases like yours in federal court. Fraud is an extremely serious criminal charge carrying life-altering potential penalties, and the last thing you want to do is leave your freedom and future up to an inexperienced, out-of-practice lawyer. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, our defense attorneys have years of experience representing defendants in a wide variety of criminal cases and we are prepared to put our knowledgeable defense team to work for you in your federal fraud case.
Common Types of Fraud Offenses
In criminal law, the term “fraud” is used to describe the use of intentional deception for the purpose of securing unfair or unlawful financial or personal gain, usually to the detriment of another person, organization or entity. There are many different kinds of fraud offenses that can result in criminal charges, from relatively simple fraud scams, such as credit card fraud and mail fraud, to more sophisticated fraud schemes, such as mortgage fraud and securities fraud. Fraud is technically a type of theft crime, but there are two important differences between theft and fraud.
- Theft is a crime characterized by the act of directly obtaining money or property from another person by stealing it or using a threat of force. The various offenses that fall under the category of fraud, however, involve a “scheme or artifice” designed to convince someone to hand over something of value based on the use of misrepresentation, false pretenses or false statements. For this reason, fraud is considered a white-collar crime, unlike most other types of theft.
- For a fraud offense, the key element of the crime is the scheme or artifice itself, rather than the unlawful procurement of the other person’s money or property. By this standard, a person can be found guilty of fraud even if the scheme to defraud is unsuccessful.
Most states, California included, have laws against fraud, but fraud is also prohibited under federal law and many of the more serious fraud offenses are charged and tried in federal court. The following are some examples of fraud offenses that can result in federal criminal charges.
Embezzlement is a crime occurring when a person entrusted with the care or control of another person’s money or property takes the money or property for his or her own personal gain, with the intent to deprive the owner of its use. In the case of embezzlement, the person accused of the crime must have had access to the money or property in question, but not ownership of it.
Immigration fraud is a type of fraud committed through deceit for the purpose of circumventing U.S. immigration laws. There are many different types of immigration fraud that can result in federal charges, including marriage fraud, immigration services fraud, document fraud, benefits fraud, and identity fraud.
Bankruptcy fraud is any type of fraudulent or unlawful activity surrounding a Chapter 7, Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. This includes making false claims, false promises or fraudulent representations in any part of a bankruptcy proceeding, or filing a bankruptcy petition or any document in a bankruptcy petition as part of a deliberate scheme to defraud creditors.
Mortgage fraud is a broad term referring to any situation in which a person or company uses inaccurate or false information on a mortgage document with the intent to fraudulently obtain a loan or obtain a larger loan than would have otherwise been available to the borrower. Although federal law does not penalize mortgage fraud as a crime itself, this type of fraud can be charged under federal statutes that deal with wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy or other types of fraud.
Criminal Penalties Associated with Federal Fraud Offenses
No matter what form it takes, fraud is an extremely serious criminal matter, and anyone suspected of committing fraud against the government, against a financial institution or in direct violation of federal law will be subject to aggressive investigation by the FBI and other federal agencies. Fraud offenses involving a great deal of money or multiple alleged victims are also typically prosecuted in federal court. The federal government has the power and authority to enforce laws relating to fraud offenses like mortgage fraud and bankruptcy fraud, and if the government has reason to believe that you committed a federal fraud crime, you will surely be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you are convicted of fraud in federal court, you will likely face harsh criminal penalties possibly including a lengthy prison sentence, hefty fines, forfeiture of assets and other potential adverse consequences.
For the crime of bankruptcy fraud, for instance, you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined up to $250,000, plus a conviction could result in your bankruptcy filing being dismissed and your debts not being discharged. For the crime of federal embezzlement, depending on the nature of the charge, the type and value of the property you are accused of embezzling, whether you were in a position of trust at the time the alleged embezzlement was committed, and your criminal history, you could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and fined up to $1 million. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, defendants accused of fraud can end up facing charges for multiple illegal acts. For example, if you are involved in a bankruptcy fraud scheme, you could also end up being charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and/or tax fraud, which could result in a significantly increased punishment upon conviction.
Sentencing Enhancements for Fraud Crimes
There are certain circumstances that, if present in a fraud case, can result in a more severe sentence upon conviction. These circumstances are known as sentencing enhancements. For instance, if the fraud involved 10 or more victims, resulted in “substantial financial hardship” to one or more victims, or was committed through mass-marketing, the recommended sentence associated with a conviction would be increased.
Defending Against Fraud Charges
Although the specific components of federal crimes vary from offense to offense, every federal crime has certain elements that define the crime and the government must be able to prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a defendant of that crime. The various types of fraud offenses have their own unique elements that must be present in order for the prosecution to get a conviction, but the essential components of a fraud offense are generally the same from case to case. For instance, federal fraud statutes in the United States generally require proof of a “scheme or artifice” to defraud or deprive another person of money or something else of value, by use of a purposeful misrepresentation of a material fact that the alleged offender knows is false.
When facing fraud charges in federal court, it can easily feel like the deck is stacked against you, but keep in mind that just because you have been accused of committing fraud does not mean you will be convicted of the crime. There are a number of defense strategies a good criminal defense attorney can use to present a strong defense against federal fraud charges, which is why it is so important to enlist an attorney to represent you in your criminal case. And the specific circumstances of the fraud charges against you will determine the defense strategy that is most appropriate and effective, which is why the attorney you choose must have extensive experience handling cases like yours.
Why You Should Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer
At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, it is our main goal to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your criminal case, and that means using every resource at our disposal to investigate the charges against you, negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and put forth the strongest possible defense based on the specific facts of your case. When it comes to fighting federal fraud charges, a good defense lawyer is a trusted legal advocate that you can rely on to protect your rights and ensure that you understand the options available to you under the law. As a former prosecutor, attorney Daniel R. Perlman brings a unique perspective and approach to the area of criminal defense, and he is well-equipped to handle the unique challenges posed by federal fraud cases. Our legal team understands that there is no singular strategy for defeating fraud charges in federal court, and when you retain our legal services, we will devote our attention to strategizing the toughest possible defense in your case.
Don’t Wait to Contact Our Attorneys at Federal Criminal Defense Pro
Fraud is one of the most commonly charged federal crimes in the United States and because fraudulent schemes are, by design, meant to dishonestly cheat someone out of money, property, or something else of value, fraud offenses are punished harshly under federal law. Federal fraud investigations are intensive and aggressive, and even if you are never convicted of the crime, just being associated with allegations of fraud can have devastating personal, professional and legal implications that can follow you for the rest of your life. At Federal Criminal Defense Pro, we know how stressful and frightening it can be to face criminal charges in federal court, especially for a financial crime like fraud. When you hire our firm, we will be tenacious in our efforts to mount an aggressive and credible defense based on the facts of your case, protect your legal rights and ensure that your best interests are represented throughout the duration of your case. Contact our firm today to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.