Fraud is defined as any intentional deceptive or false representation made with the intention of benefitting oneself or someone else. If you are charged with federal fraud charges for any type of fraud, contact the Zoukis Consulting Group. Our team can answer your questions, advise you on how to proceed, and connect you with one of our fraud criminal defense lawyer partners. Don’t navigate this alone: speak with a fraud defense law firm now.
If charged with a federal fraud offense, you need to retain a federal criminal defense attorney with experience defending against these allegations. The Zoukis Consulting Group’s attorney partners have a track record of successfully representing individuals and companies charged with financial misbehavior.
Table of contents
- What Are Federal Fraud Charges?
- Federal Fraud Charges Definition
- Types of Federal Fraud Charges
- Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344)
- Bankruptcy Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 157)
- Citizenship Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 911)
- Computer Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030)
- Consumer Fraud (15 U.S.C. § 45)
- Corporate Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, 1344)
- Credit Card Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029)
- Embezzlement (18 U.S.C. § 641)
- Fraud Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371)
- Healthcare Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1347)
- Identity Theft (18 U.S.C. §§ 1028 and 1028A)
- Immigration Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1325, 1546)
- Insurance Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1033)
- Investment Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1348)
- Mail Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
- Mortgage Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1344, 1343, 1001)
- Naturalization Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1015)
- Real Estate Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1344, 1001)
- Securities Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1348)
- Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C. § 7201)
- Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
- Federal Fraud Elements
- Is Fraud a Federal Crime?
- Federal Fraud Statute
- Federal Fraud Penalty
- Legal Defenses to Federal Fraud Charges
- Federal Fraud Statute of Limitations
- Who Investigates and Prosecutes Federal Fraud
- Your Federal Fraud Charges Experts
What Are Federal Fraud Charges?
In criminal law, fraud refers to deliberate deception to obtain the unfair or unlawful financial or personal benefit, usually at someone else’s expense.
Many types of fraud crimes may result in criminal charges, ranging from simple fraud scams such as credit card fraud and mail fraud to more complex fraud schemes like mortgage fraud and securities fraud.
Regardless of the type of federal fraud charges you may be facing, your best first course of action is to speak with a fraud criminal defense lawyer.
Federal Fraud Charges Definition
Fraud is defined as the use of deliberate deception for the purpose of obtaining unjust or illegal financial or personal advantage, usually to the disadvantage of another person, entity, or organization.
Types of Federal Fraud Charges
If you are facing federal fraud charges, you need an experienced federal fraud attorney on your side. At The Zoukis Consulting Group, our attorney partners have successfully defended clients against all types of federal fraud charges, including:
Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344)
Bank fraud is the illegal use of bank accounts. It is the intentional misuse of funds or assets belonging to a financial institution.
It can range from minor theft or embezzlement to more sophisticated frauds like those involving false claims. More complex bank fraud schemes include overvaluing assets, fraudulent loan applications, and illegal use of borrowed money.
Bank fraud is a federal crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Fines of up to $1 million are also possible.
Bankruptcy Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 157)
Fraudulent or unlawful acts surrounding Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or Chapter 11 bankruptcy are bankruptcy fraud. Bankruptcy fraud occurs when someone knowingly and intentionally makes false statements or omits material information when filing for bankruptcy.
One example of federal bankruptcy fraud is making fraudulent claims, promises, or representations in any phase of the bankruptcy process. This also includes filing a bankruptcy petition or document as part of a deliberate plan to defraud creditors.
Bankruptcy fraud is a type of federal fraud charge punishable by up to five years in federal prison.
Citizenship Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 911)
Those who falsely and willfully claim to be United States citizens but are not can be prosecuted for federal citizenship fraud. Those convicted face up to three years in prison. Additionally, they are subject to monetary fines.
Speak with a fraud criminal defense lawyer to know how to best proceed if charged with this type of fraud.
Computer Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030)
Computer fraud is a federal crime occurring when someone knowingly accesses a protected computer without authorization. This includes those who exceed authorized access and obtains information from a protected computer.
Hacking describes unlawful access to a computer system to steal or alter data. It’s a form of cybercrime referring to obtaining unauthorized entry into a computer system to steal or change data.
Hacking a computer to gain unlawful access to a business or corporation’s private network is typical of many internet offenses related to theft and fraud.
Federal courts often prosecute these crimes under 18 U.S.C. § 1030 since the computers at issue are often in different states, necessitating the crossing of state lines.
Defendants convicted of computer fraud face one year in prison for misdemeanor convictions. Felony convictions typically result in up to 10 years in federal prisons. A natural life sentence is possible if a victim dies due to the hacking.
Consumer Fraud (15 U.S.C. § 45)
Consumer fraud is a federal crime that occurs when someone uses false or misleading statements to sell a product or service. This happens when a person or company tries to take advantage of others.
Federal consumer fraud typically involves sending false or scam-related information through the mail, internet, or telephones. These communications are designed to obtain money fraudulently.
Federal statutes protect consumers from consumer fraud. If someone believes they are under investigation for consumer fraud, they should avoid making any statements until speaking with an attorney since the most damaging evidence often comes from the person’s own words and activities.
Corporate Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, 1344)
Corporate fraud occurs when someone knowingly misappropriates company assets or commits accounting fraud. Under the broad umbrella of white-collar crimes, corporate fraud is a term that refers to various fraudulent activities committed by business experts. It includes a range of fraudulent acts that company executives typically carry out.
Credit Card Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029)
Credit card fraud occurs when someone uses a credit card without the cardholder’s permission or knowingly provides false information to obtain a credit card.
Credit card use without permission is credit card fraud. These crimes are prosecuted in every state. While most credit card fraud is charged under state law, it is also frequently prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1029 as a federal crime.
The most prevalent types of credit card fraud include:
- Using identity theft to obtain credit cards in someone else’s name.
- Using a lost or stolen credit card.
- Utilizing skimmers installed on gas pumps or an ATM.
- Submitting phony credit card applications.
- Manufacturing fraudulent credit cards.
- Stealing mail to acquire cardholder information.
Defendants convicted of federal credit card fraud face up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. This can increase to 15 or 20 years in prison if convicted, depending on the underlying circumstances. Considering these draconian penalties, you should immediately speak with a fraud criminal defense lawyer.
Embezzlement (18 U.S.C. § 641)
Embezzlement consists of stealing money or property from someone who has entrusted it to you for safekeeping or control.
Federal embezzlement occurs when a person entrusted with another person’s money or property takes the money or property for their personal gain. This requires the intent to deprive the owner of its use illegally.
If convicted, defendants can receive up to 10 years in federal prison. Additionally, fines and restitution are common for these federal fraud charges.
Fraud Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371)
Fraud conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit fraud and take action to further the scheme.
Conspiracy to commit fraud, often known as conspiracy to commit fraud, is a distinct and separate offense from fraud itself. While charges of fraud (e.g., mail fraud, wire fraud, or health care fraud) are explicitly concerned with attempting to defraud someone, conspiracy entails the intention or agreement of two or more persons to engage in fraudulent activity.
Fraud conspiracy charges punish people who collaborate to commit fraud. If individuals act alone, they are not guilty of fraud conspiracy. However, if two or more persons are involved in the scheme, they may be charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in addition to the fraud allegations themselves.
Federal criminal defendants convicted of fraud conspiracy face up to five years in prison. Don’t hesitate to contact a fraud criminal defense lawyer if you or a family member are under investigation for a federal crime.
Healthcare Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1347)
Healthcare fraud occurs when someone knowingly submits false claims to a healthcare program or provider.
Individuals are investigated for health care fraud if they knowingly and deliberately attempt to defraud or obtain money or property through false pretenses from any health benefit program (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid). Other examples are overcharging for healthcare services and charging a patient for superfluous medical procedures.
Those convicted of healthcare fraud typically receive prison sentences of up to 10 years. In certain circumstances, this statutory maximum can increase to either 20 years or life in federal prison.
Identity Theft (18 U.S.C. §§ 1028 and 1028A)
Identity theft occurs when someone intentionally uses another person’s personal information without permission.
Federal identity theft consists of creating, transmitting, or possessing an identification document, authentication feature, or a false identification document with the intent to use it illegally. State-issued birth certificates and driving licenses are examples of personal identifiers.
Identity theft is a federal crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. This statutory maximum can increase to 20 or 30 years in federal prison in certain circumstances. If prosecutors bring federal fraud charges, you need to speak with a fraud criminal defense lawyer.
Immigration Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1325, 1546)
Federal immigration fraud is an unlawful act that involves deceptions to evade U.S. immigration regulations.
Immigration fraud is a catchall phrase that encompasses a wide range of fraudulent immigration-related activities, including:
- Lying on paperwork to gain entry into the United States.
- Entering into a phony marriage for solely immigration motives.
- Providing fraudulent immigration services to someone else.
Various types of immigration fraud may result in federal prosecutions, including:
- Marriage Fraud
- Immigration Services Fraud
- Document Fraud
- Benefits Fraud
- Identity Theft
Insurance Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1033)
Insurance fraud occurs when someone knowingly submits false claims to an insurance company.
Federal insurance fraud usually involves submitting a fraudulent insurance claim to obtain insurance benefits, including attempting to profit financially from an insurance company, another insured person, or a state or federal government agency.
Investment Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1348)
Investment fraud occurs when someone uses false or misleading statements to sell securities or investments. This includes the illegal sale or purported sale of financial instruments.
Common investment fraud scheme traits include:
- Low- or No-Risk Investments
- Guaranteed Returns
- Overly-Consistent Returns
- Complex Systems
- Unregistered Securities
Mail Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
Mail fraud occurs when someone uses the mail to further a fraudulent scheme. This federal crime is committed when a person uses the United States Postal Service, a private mail carrier (e.g., FedEx), telephone, fax, internet, radio, television, or any other interstate or international wire communication in connection with a fraud.
Mail and wire fraud are frequently brought in relation to many types of fraud cases because of the broad scope of these regulations.
Defendants convicted of federal mail fraud are subject to 20 years in federal prison. But, if the fraud involves a financial institution, they can receive up to 30 years in federal prison.
Mortgage Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1344, 1343, 1001)
Mortgage fraud is a phrase that refers to any instance in which a person or firm provides false or fraudulent information on a mortgage document to defraud the borrower. It also includes occupancy fraud.
While mortgage fraud is not explicitly illegal under federal law, it is often prosecuted under federal statutes governing wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy, or other forms of fraud. Since these types of fraud can carry significant prison time, your first call should be to a fraud criminal defense lawyer.
Naturalization Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1015)
Naturalization fraud occurs when someone knowingly makes false statements or misrepresentations during the citizenship or naturalization process.
Under federal law, it is a crime to lie about one’s citizenship status with the goal of either:
- Obtaining privileges they are not entitled to (e.g., voting)
- Evading legal responsibilities or obligations (e.g., paying taxes)
Naturalization fraud is a federal crime punishable by five years in federal prison. A fraud defense law firm with years of experience can work to mitigate a potential prison outcome. Speak with a fraud criminal defense lawyer today!
Real Estate Fraud (18 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 1344, 1001)
Real estate fraud occurs when someone knowingly uses false statements or omits material information in a real estate transaction. This consists of the fraudulent misrepresentation of facts connected to the purchase, sale, rental, or financing of real estate property.
Real estate fraud is a crime under state and federal laws and can result in jail or prison time.A person may commit this fraud at various stages throughout the process of a real estate deal. This might occur during appraisal, closing, or foreclosure procedures.
Securities Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1348)
Securities fraud occurs when someone uses false or misleading statements to sell securities or investments. Since the federal government governs securities and commodities markets, these crimes are often federal offenses.
Securities fraud is a broad category that includes Ponzi or pyramid schemes, investment scams, broker embezzlement, and foreign currency scams.
Insider trading is when a brokerage firm, investment bank, or individual stockbrokers deceive clients or investors by providing false or misrepresented data. It can also happen when individuals trade securities or other assets using material not available to the general public, a practice known as insider trading.
Securities fraud is a federal crime punishable by up to 25 years in federal prison. Speak with a federal fraud criminal defense lawyer to develop a strategy for avoiding prison time.
Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C. § 7201)
Tax fraud occurs when someone willfully files a false or fraudulent tax return or otherwise avoids paying federal income taxes. It comes in various forms, such as overestimating business expenses, underreporting income, or not filing a tax return.
According to the IRS, tax fraud is rampant, with about $2 trillion in untaxed or uncollected income every year. Individuals frequently commit tax fraud by:
- Underreporting Income
- Overestimating Costs and Deductions
- Failing to Collect Employment Taxes
- Making False Statements to Investigators
- Violating Employer Withholding Rules
- Not Filing a Yearly Tax Return
Since federal criminal defendants convicted of tax fraud face up to five years in federal prison, it is critical to retain an experienced fraud defense law firm to best advise you. This should ideally be a firm with significant experience defending against fraud cases.
Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
Wire fraud occurs when someone uses interstate wire communications to further a fraudulent scheme. It is a federal offense that involves an attempt to defraud someone through electronic communication. It can take many forms, including:
- Telemarketing Fraud
- Internet Scams
- Fraudulent plans using television or radio
Furthermore, by linking other crimes to wire fraud, federal authorities can frequently pursue additional charges that would otherwise only be available under state criminal codes.
Federal wire fraud is a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If the victim is a financial institution, this increases to 30 years in federal prison.
Federal Fraud Elements
Under common law, the various types of fraud consist of three distinct elements:
- A material false statement made with the intent to deceive (scienter)
- A victim’s reliance on the statement
Speak with a fraud defense law firm today to better understand these elements and develop a strategy for success.
Is Fraud a Federal Crime?
Fraud often violates both federal and state criminal law. The penalties for federal felonies tend to be more severe, including longer prison terms, more significant fines and fees, and the loss of specific licenses and certifications. A single fraud conviction may put you out of business.
Federal fraud charges frequently involve some sort of fraud against a government agency or service. Additionally, they include deceptive conduct that utilizes a government service. The federal government has broad authority over many essential business activities, such as bank transactions and wire transfers. As such, federal fraud may overlap with many other white-collar crimes.
You should speak with a fraud defense law firm if charged with fraud as soon as possible. Contact the Zoukis Consulting Group today for help.
Federal Fraud Statute
Under 18 U.S.C. § 10011, fraud is defined as conduct that knowingly and intentionally engages in any of the following:
- Falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
- Makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
- Makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.
Federal Fraud Penalty
Federal fraud offenses are almost always charged as felonies, although misdemeanor convictions are conceivable in some cases. A felony has a potential sentence of a year or more behind bars, while a misdemeanor conviction can result in imprisonment of up to one year. There are various alternative sentences for a federal fraud conviction, including time in prison, monetary fines, and probation.
A person convicted of a federal fraud crime faces imprisonment in federal prison. The potential jail sentences associated with any fraud conviction vary considerably. They can range from no prison time to 20 to 30 years per violation. In some instances, alternatives such as house arrest are available.
Working with a fraud defense law firm is essential to reducing your criminal liability. Your fraud defense lawyer can explain your best options and develop a strategic approach to refuting these allegations.
Legal Defenses to Federal Fraud Charges
Although the elements of federal crimes differ from crime to crime, every federal offense must satisfy specific criteria for the government to convict a defendant. Your fraud defense lawyer can explain possible defenses to an allegation of misconduct.
Although the many forms of fraud crimes have their own characteristics that must be present for the government to prevail, the essential elements of a fraud offense are generally constant across cases.
For example, according to federal fraud laws in the United States, a scheme or artifice to defraud or deprive another person of money or other property is shown when there’s proof of deliberate misrepresentation of a material fact that the accused knows is false.
Federal Fraud Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for mail and wire fraud charges is five years (18 U.S.C. § 3282), except for financial institution-related mail and wire fraud schemes, in which case it is ten years (18 U.S.C. § 3293).
If you are charged with a federal fraud offense outside of these timelines, a sharp fraud defense law firm can seek dismissal of the charges.
Who Investigates and Prosecutes Federal Fraud
When a federal agency has evidence that federal law has been broken, it may launch a criminal investigation. When several government agencies receive a report or tip that appears to be valid, they typically begin the process of investigating.
An investigation is the first step in any federal criminal case. The objective of an investigation is to determine whether a law has been violated and if a crime occurred. Additionally, federal authorities discern who may be held accountable and potentially charged with federal fraud. Additionally, federal investigators determine what evidence supports a federal fraud prosecution.
Many federal agencies investigate various types of fraud offenses, including:
Once an investigation has concluded, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes the offenses if probable cause is found. An Assistant U.S. Attorney is then assigned to the case and directly prosecutes the defendants. Likewise, your fraud defense law firm will defend you against these accusations.
Your Federal Fraud Charges Experts
If you have been charged with a federal fraud crime, contact the Zoukis Consulting Group for a free consultation. We will review your case, help you understand your options, and connect you with one of our experienced federal fraud defense attorney partners.
With our team and fraud defense law firm partners on the case, we can ensure you serve the least amount of time in the best federal prison with the earliest opportunity for release.
Published Feb 15, 2022 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Apr 21, 2022 at 5:27 pm