A federal conspiracy charge is a broad term used to describe various acts that are considered a crime. This means that if you or a loved are charged with federal conspiracy, then additional crimes may be levied against you. If you or your loved one is suspected of, accused of or charged with federal conspiracy under 18 USC 371, contact a federal criminal defense lawyer immediately. It’s time to fight the charge.
What is 18 USC 371?
Title 18 USC 371 is known as the conspiracy to defraud the United States or commit an offense. This charge makes it illegal for two or more people to conspire to defraud or commit an offense against the federal government.
In addition to planning a crime or to defraud, at least one person does an overt act to put the conspiracy in motion. An “overt” act means that you or someone you allegedly conspired with attempted to commit the planned crime.
It’s important to note that federal prosecutors aren’t required to find a written agreement between you and two more individuals to arrest you for conspiracy. The government must prove that specific people were planning to commit a specific crime together.
The Types of Crimes You can be Charged with According to 18 USC 371
Federal conspiracy is the intent to commit another crime or defraud the government along with two or more people. It is a criminal charge that leads to another, more serious federal criminal charge. The most common criminal charge a person facing federal conspiracy may also face fraud and drug trafficking. The types of federal crimes you can be charged with along with federal conspiracy are:
• Seditious conspiracy
• Retraining trade
• Violating RICO
• Submitting fraudulent claims to the U.S.
• Federal healthcare offense
• Violating the Controlled Substances Act (this is found under the Title 21 USC 841
• Committing fraud
• Any crime against the U.S. to defraud or commit an offense
The Punishment for the Conspiracy Conviction Depends on the Crime
The government has a lot of leeway to punish a person found guilty of conspiracy to commit a federal crime. According to Section 371, you may receive five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. However, you may not be sentenced to five years if you are convicted of a specific crime like terrorism, racketeering or drug trafficking. Instead, you will receive the criminal sentence for that specific crime. This is called the underlying crime.
You may also be ordered to pay restitution to the government or have property and assets forfeited.
However, if the crime you’re accused of committing is a misdemeanor, you won’t receive federal prison time. You will receive the punishment for that misdemeanor. For example, if the misdemeanor sentence is one year behind bars and/or a fine, that’s the time you’ll receive.
Fighting a Federal Conspiracy Charge
You are charged with federal conspiracy, not convicted. You have the opportunity to fight this charge. Understand that many people are charged with conspiracy because federal prosecutors need information on alleged co-conspirators. You can’t assume the government will drop the charges after they receive any information.
Your specific defense will depend on the facts of your case. Most people attack the charge using the defense that they didn’t knowingly or willingly engage in trying to commit another federal crime. Another defense is to show that you withdrew from the conspiracy. This means you took an overt action to stop conspiring prior to the crime taking place.
Remember, you specific defense will depend on you the facts of your case. That’s why it’s important to discuss you case with a federal defense lawyer.
Allow Us to Fight Your Federal Conspiracy Charge
Conspiracy charges are serious. You face serious punishment for violating 18 USC 371. Federal conspiracy charges are often misunderstood. Often times innocent people are accused of federal conspiracy based on flimsy evidence or no evidence at all. This means you need knowledgeable legal representation which understands the severity of the crime and defenses available to you.
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