False Statement Charges: Why You Need an Aggressive Federal Crimes Lawyer
Getting charged with making false statements to the federal government can be scary. The penalties are severe – up to 5 years in prison – and the government doesn’t mess around. That’s why having an experienced federal crimes lawyer on your side is so important.
Let me explain.
Making false statements – also called “lying to the feds” – is illegal under 18 U.S.C. § 1001. This law makes it a felony to knowingly and willfully make materially false statements to federal agents or agencies.
You don’t have to be under oath. You don’t even have to be an official suspect. Simply telling a lie to the FBI, IRS, SEC, or any other federal agency during an investigation is enough to get you charged.
And once they charge you, they rarely back down. The feds have a 97% conviction rate. The deck is stacked against you from the start.
So if federal agents ever question you, even informally, you need to watch what you say. And if they accuse you of lying, you need a lawyer immediately.
Let me walk through some examples so you understand how serious this is. Then I’ll explain the defenses and why having an aggressive lawyer is so important.
Real-World Examples of False Statement Charges
Here are just a few high-profile cases of false statement charges in recent years:
- Martha Stewart – The famous lifestyle guru went to prison after lying to FBI agents about her involvement in an insider trading scandal. Even though she was never convicted of insider trading, the false statement charge alone got her 5 months behind bars.
- Rod Blagojevich – The former Illinois governor got 14 years in prison for corruption. But one of the charges that put him away was making false statements to federal agents during their investigation.
- Jeffrey Yohai – This real estate developer and former son-in-law of Paul Manafort was charged with making false statements on loan applications seeking over $15 million.
- Michael Flynn – The former National Security Advisor pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians. He cooperated with prosecutors and avoided prison time.
- Paul Manafort – Trump’s former campaign manager got busted for false statements too. He lied to the FBI and grand jury about his work lobbying for Ukraine.
See the pattern here? Lying to the feds can take down major public figures and send them to prison – even if they’re never convicted of any other crime.
And it happens to everyday people more than you’d think. Any time federal agents are investigating you for something, they’ll look for any potential false statement charges they can bring.
Some common ways it happens:
- During an interview about an alleged crime
- On an application for federal benefits
- On records submitted to the IRS, SEC, or other agencies
- To federal agents who visit your home or business
- To the grand jury under oath
Basically anytime you make a statement to the federal government, you’re at risk if you don’t tell the 100% truth.
And even if you think you’re telling the truth, you can still get charged if the feds decide your statement was false. It’s their word against yours.
The Harsh Penalties You Face
Like all federal felonies, the penalties for false statements are severe:
- Up to 5 years in federal prison
- Fines up to $250,000
- Probation lasting multiple years
- A permanent felony conviction on your record
And that’s just for one offense. If you lie repeatedly during an investigation, prosecutors often stack multiple false statement charges.
That’s how Paul Manafort ended up getting hammered with a 7.5 year prison sentence. Most of that was for false statements.
In some cases, like terrorism or sex crimes, the maximum sentence goes up to 8 years per charge.
Plus, your felony conviction can destroy your career and reputation. Say goodbye to voting rights, gun ownership, professional licenses, security clearances, and many other rights.
So you have a lot on the line if the feds accuse you of lying. Don’t take it lightly.
Why You Need an Aggressive Lawyer Right Away
Facing a federal false statements charge without a lawyer is extremely unwise. Here’s why you need experienced legal counsel:
1. The feds won’t just drop the charges.
Don’t expect federal prosecutors to back down if you ask nicely. The Department of Justice prides itself on its 97% conviction rate.
Once you’re charged, they will push hard for a guilty plea or conviction at trial. A skilled federal crimes lawyer is your best chance to beat the charges or negotiate them down.
2. There are strong defenses you can raise.
While false statement charges may seem cut-and-dry, there are flaws in many cases. As a criminal defense lawyer, I’ve gotten these charges dismissed by arguing:
- You didn’t knowingly make a false statement – you were simply mistaken
- Your statement wasn’t material to the investigation
- You corrected or clarified the statement shortly after
There are other nuances too. But you need an experienced lawyer to spot them and argue for dismissal or acquittal.
3. Even if convicted, a lawyer can reduce your sentence.
Over 95% of federal cases end in plea deals, not trials. If your case goes this route, your lawyer’s job is to negotiate for lesser charges or a lighter sentence.
An aggressive lawyer knows how to work the system and leverage any flaws or extenuating circumstances in your case. This can make a huge difference in the penalty you face.
4. You need help gathering evidence and witnesses.
Proving your innocence takes time and resources. Your lawyer’s investigators can track down documents, physical evidence, and witness statements you’ll need.
Relying on federal prosecutors to find exonerating evidence is foolish. Their goal is to convict you, not help your case.
5. Don’t talk to investigators without your lawyer present.
You have the right to remain silent and the right to have your lawyer present for questioning. Use them! Even casual conversations can lead to more false statement charges.
Your lawyer will handle communicating with investigators for you. This prevents you from accidentally saying something you shouldn’t.
How an Experienced Federal Crimes Lawyer Can Defend You
If you’re under investigation for any federal crime, it’s wise to have a lawyer’s help from the very beginning.
But if you’re already charged with false statements, an experienced federal crimes lawyer can still defend you and achieve the best possible outcome. Here’s how:
- Thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and the context of your statements
- Look for proof that you did not knowingly or willfully lie
- Find witnesses and evidence that corroborate your version of events
- Challenge the materiality of the alleged false statements
- Work closely with you to prepare powerful testimony in your defense
- Negotiate aggressively with prosecutors for reduced or dismissed charges
- File motions highlighting legal flaws in the government’s case
- Take your case to trial if necessary, and stress reasonable doubt about your guilt
- Present mitigating factors about your character and service to the community
- Argue for the lightest possible sentence if you are convicted
An experienced federal defense lawyer knows how to build the strongest case possible in your favor.
They also know how federal prosecutors and agents work, and what strategies give you the best chance of success. There are no guarantees, but skilled legal counsel maximizes your odds.
Don’t Wait – Get an Attorney Now
If you or someone you love have been visited by federal agents or charged with false statements, I strongly encourage you to exercise your rights.
Call an experienced federal crimes lawyer immediately and rely on their counsel throughout the investigation. Anything you say to investigators without your lawyer present could be used against you.
An aggressive legal defense may very well get the charges dismissed or reduced. But waiting and hoping the problem goes away on its own is not wise.
The government wins 97% of federal cases for a reason. The system is stacked against you. So you need the best lawyer you can find in your corner.
Take the first step and contact my office for a free case evaluation. An experienced federal crimes lawyer can protect your rights, freedom, and reputation. But we have to get involved right away, before you accidentally make matters worse.
Don’t wait any longer. Call now to schedule a free consultation, and let’s start building your defense together.