Feb 4, 2019

Federal Fraud Sentencing Guidelines

How Federal False Statements Are Prosecuted

To be charged of a federal false statement means you have violated title 18 of the United States Code, section 1001 whose penalty is a prison sentence not more than 5 years and a fine of $250,000. If the false statement charge is terrorism related the conviction can go up to 8 years. This charge is commonly used by prosecutors to throw a spanner in the works of federal criminal proceedings so they can have a bit more leverage.

A federal false statement means any information that you willfully or knowingly falsify, conceal or cover up by use of trickery, device or scheme. It also states that material fact or making material false, or makes a fraudulent or fictitious statement or misrepresents with an aim to deceive. Subsection (b) of that section however does not apply to any other party to the proceeding or that party’s counsel. Even if the defendant gave misleading information to safeguard another person’s rights, its interpreted as concealing information and many notables have faced jail time in that respect.

Making use of a document that with an absolute knowledge that its contents stand contrary in falsity, fiction and fraud to a federal proceeding; using that document to then mislead any federal jurisdictional official falls under the charge of federal false statements. Any written or spoken communication to a federal judge therefore, such as a written notice or a motion to suppress evidence; needs to be looked at for any falsity or interference that may be construed as deceiving.

Federal Fraud Sentencing Guidelines

There exists a lesser offence known as giving a false report which; depending the authority you are dealing with, e.g. police or fire services, can be tried as a misdemeanor or an infraction. However, giving false statements under oath to any federal agent or in a federal courtroom for that matter is a serious federal crime. This is called Perjury; which is a felony contrary to federal law 18USC §1621. Perjury as a separate crime is punishable with a fine or an imprisonment of up to 5 states that ‘perjury is an intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying the truth, whether in writing or spoken; concerning matters material to an official proceeding.’

If you are under a federal investigation, the sensible thing to do when under the interrogation is refer all questions to a criminal defense attorney. All federal agents by rule; work in pairs, one of whom subjects the interviewee to a barrage of questioning while the other records it. They may strike with a house visit, or call at your place of work; warrants and all. The defendant is however within their rights if they keep quiet or refer to legal counsel; they can also plead the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution. The amendment go the Bill of Rights states in partiality that; ‘no person shall be held answerable for infamous or capital crimes unless on presentment or indictment of grand jury; except in a military, militia or active duty capacity’.

The prosecution of federal false statements may hit a legal snag if there are issues with proving that the falsity and deception lies within the content of 18 U.S.C § 1001. If it was given in simple denial of guilt i.e. in a commission of inquiry or a senate committee hearing; then it cannot be tried under section 1001. Before an amendment to this section in 1996, it stated broad that; ‘within a US departmental or agency’s jurisdiction if whoever knowingly or willfully’… therefore any voluntarily given information to a federal agent applies to this section.

Rulings by some courts however, have upheld than the refusal to accept responsibility, has no impairment on the effectiveness of the investigating agency. This is known as the ‘exculpatory no’; a doctrine that’s not applicable in cases where the aforesaid statement go further to mislead affirmatively, a federal investigation. United States v. North, 708 F. Supp. 364,369 (DDC 1988)

All information that you are about to give an official from any federal jurisdiction must not be false or fraudulent in any way to ovoid the charge of federal false statements. Think carefully if confronted by a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent or an Inland Revenue Service investigator. Consider the fact that if you say something false or provide altered material evidence and it falls under the broad scope of section 1001; you risk a large fine or a very long federal penitentiary visit.

What Happens Before A Sentence Is Imposed In Federal Court?

Prior to a sentence being imposed in a federal criminal or white-collar crime case, there’s a lot that happens. The judge, prosecutor, your attorney, a probation officer, and other parties are all involved. It can take several months before the convict’s sentencing hearing. It may be a period of exceptional stress due to the very nature of the process and the potential results of such. Depending on the type of crime committed, background, and other aggravating or mitigating factors, the sentence can vary considerably. In some scenarios, there may not be any jail time at all.

Meeting with a probation officer is the first step:

A probation officer prepares a presentencing report. This report is a comprehensive listing of the subject’s background. It takes many different factors into consideration such as social background, work history, criminal background, financial status, and potentially more.

After the presentencing report is completed:

The presentencing report is distributed to everyone involved in the matter including the convicted party. The convicted patty and their attorney will review the report together, typically. This is to determine if the report is accurate and if any objections need to be raised. This is a very important step as it is one of the biggest determining factors in the convict’s sentencing.

Behind the scenes:

There’s a lot that’s happening behind the scenes. The judge works with assistants to research past sentences in similar court cases. The judge tries to gather this information from as many sources as possible to ensure that they have a fair and objective understanding. The judge also takes into consideration the testimony that’s been given in court. He or she reviews the documents, evidence, and anything else that would help in determining what type of sentence would be appropriate.

The death sentence:

The death sentence is reserved for cases that warrant it such as capital murder. It’s only given if a jury decides it’s an appropriate consideration. Other factors that are considered include whether the convicted party is mentally competent and if they’re over the age of 18. Otherwise, the death sentence is a form of “cruel and unusual punishment.” Protections against this type of practice are guaranteed by the US Constitution.

The sentencing memorandum:

A sentencing memorandum is a comprehensive document that’s composed by the convict’s attorney. The document speaks to the character of the convicted and their reputation in general. It may also include references by the convict’s friends, family members, coworkers, members of the community, and more. The intent of this memorandum is to give the judge and everyone else involved one last push for a more lenient sentence. This technique has been highly successful in many cases.

The sentencing trial:

During the sentencing trial, the judge will announce the sentence that is to be imposed. The judge has already done their homework; however, the final sentence isn’t set in stone quite yet. The judge will listen to the prosecution, the convict’s attorney, and the convicted. It’s important that the convicted work with their attorney to prepare what is to be said and rehearsing it prior to the sentencing trial. This gives the greatest chance of success in getting the most lenient sentence. After the information is presented, the judge will then speak on the matter. He or she will also announce the final sentence. If the attorney and the convicted disagree with the sentence, they may file post-trial motions or an appeal, depending on the particular action requested and the circumstances. The Department of Justice, Offices of the United States Attorneys website offers great insight on the sentencing process and much more. Click here to visit the Department of Justice’s website.

Selecting an attorney or hiring a new attorney:

If you’re in need of an attorney or were dissatisfied with your old attorney, it’s imperative that you seek one out. An attorney is an absolute necessity in any federal court matter and especially during the sentencing process. During this time, they’ll help you more than ever before in getting you the best possible sentence and terms. A no-risk consultation will give you the chance to ask questions and have your questions answered. We’re available whenever you happen to need us. Get in touch online or by telephone to get the representation you want and deserve, today.

How Can You Challenge A Federal Criminal Conviction?

When you or your loved one have been charged with a federal crime, you may want to know your options in appealing the conviction. You may feel that the judge or jury made an improper decision based on the evidence presented, and you want to overturn the case. It could be your lawyer that made a mistake, and you want to have a fresh set of eyes look at your situation and appeal of the matter.

Your Rights to Appeal A Federal Crime

Under the United States Constitution, you have the right to appeal any decision that was handed down. You must show that you were not given a fair trial due to one or more factors. It can be because the judge or jury was given information that was false, or you could have been given a court-appointed or had another attorney that did little to help you.

You, also, have the right to competent counsel in any crime. If you feel that your rights have been infringed upon due to the trial’s outcome, then you can try to get your conviction overturned under code 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a petition can be filed for an appeal.

Two Ways to Overturn A Conviction in Federal Court

Two basic appeals can be filed in a federal court to have the appellate court review your case. The circumstances will depict if it’s best to file a direct appeal or a 2255.

•Direct Appeal

One of the most common methods of appealing your case is called a direct appeal. After sentencing has been handed down, you have fourteen days to file the documents for this type of appeal. To have sufficient grounds, you must be able to prove one of the following:

•The Trial Court Acted Incorrectly
•The Judge Did Wrong
•The Jury Acted Erroneously
•Judge or Jury Was Bias in The Case

You can’t just say that they didn’t like you or other things of that nature. You must prove to a federal judge that they didn’t act within the law and did you wrong. Establishing what happened in the courtroom can be quite challenging, especially when you are saying that the judge or jury was biased or not following legal protocol.

•Petition 2255

A habeas petition is called a 2255, and it gets its name from the section of the Constitution where it originates. You can find this at 28 U.S.C. section 2255. When you have an attorney file this petition on your behalf, it means that you have been locked up unjustly. It means that something has occurred that has violated your rights. The most common reason to file this appeal is because of a lack of effective legal representation.

If your lawyer didn’t conduct a proper investigation of the evidence, didn’t file necessary documents or motions, and messed up your chances of a fair trial, then you may consider submitting a 2255.

You must keep in mind that using a 2255 is a very different kind of appeal than going about it directly. In a direct appeal, you are stating that the court or its agents did something wrong in your case, but when you file a 2255, you are blaming everything on the lawyer that represented you.

Deciding the Proper Method To File Your Appeal

When it comes to the legal system and most courts, the timing of the appeal means everything. Traditionally, you file a direct appeal followed by a 2255. However, when you are dealing with the federal court circuit, everything is different. You and your attorney must figure out what you want the court to address, and then you can file the appropriate documentation. The “vehicle” you use in your appeal can mean everything to the outcome. Before slinging accusations at the judge, jury or an attorney, you must have sufficient evidence to back up your statements.

Having a crime on one’s record can have far-reaching negative consequences for the private life and career of the convicted person. And this is especially true for people indicted for federal crimes, as they are frequently harsher and therefore are punished more severely. Check out this article written by federal criminal defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group to learn about the peculiarities of this type of offenses, how they differ from state ones, what consequences and penalties they may result in, and what a person should do if investigated or charged with a federal-level offense.

Definition and Types of Federal Crimes

A federal offense is a violation of the U.S. federal legislation. These are the crimes committed against all U.S. citizens, citizens of two and more states, and the U.S. federal government.

For example, tax fraud and evasion results in all U.S. taxpayers getting overbilled, and thus the crime is considered federal. Similarly, fraud and abuse of federally funded healthcare programs results in a waste of all the U.S. taxpayers’ money, and thus Medicaid and Medicare fraud is not just a state-level offense. Other types include the following:

  • racketeering;
  • bank robbery;
  • computer crimes;
  • intellectual property crimes violations;
  • assassination or conspiracy to assassinate the U.S. President, Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate, member of Congress, Cabinet, Supreme Court;
  • murder of a relative of a U.S. judge or a U.S. official;
  • etc.

Difference between state and federal offenses

State-level criminal offenses are prosecuted by the local and state law enforcement authorities. Mostly, these are the crimes committed within the boundaries of a single state and they do not relate to the citizens of other states, at least not directly. Federal crimes in their turn, as it has already been said in this article, are the crimes committed against all U.S. citizens or citizens of two and more states. Sometimes the two types of crimes overlap, in which case the federal government is most likely to take over the case.

Consequences and Penalties for Federal Offenses

State and federal offenses differ in the way they are prosecuted and penalized. First of all, the federal government has much more resources to investigate crimes, and in some cases several investigative agencies will join forces to investigate a charge. Therefore, the more investigators working on the case, the more evidence collected, and thus the prosecution case is likely to be very strong and extremely difficult to challenge.

Secondly, federal and state judges have a different level of discretion when determining penalties and sentences. In federal courts, judges use special sentencing guidelines, which are quite strict and straightforward and among other things have a point system to determine the impact of the person’s previous criminal history on the current sentence and additional punishment enhancements. In state courts, a judge may be guided by either sentencing guidelines or by sentencing ranges with no specific guidelines, depending on the legislation of a particular state.

Thirdly, state and federal legislatures have different sentencing laws for similar crimes, and the latter has harsher and higher maximum penalties.

What to Do If You’re Investigated or Accused of a Federal Offense?

As you see, federal criminal charges are much more challenging to handle and therefore require the expertise of an attorney who has years of experience in the law area your case belongs to. However, even before a lawyer sets to your case, there are some things you can do to make it easier for the legal counsel to build a strong defense. If you need help with federal appeals, our federal appeals lawyers can assist with this as well.

  • Don’t talk to the government officials before talking to your lawyer. In most cases, by the time the person learns that he or she is under investigation, the agents have already gathered an extensive amount of evidence, and anything you say may serve as proof of whatever information they already have. Sometimes the agents may tell the interrogated person that it’s not he or she who is targeted and that they’re asking for information about some other individual. This may also make you tell the officials some incriminating information.
  • Don’t talk or write or text to anyone about the case except for a lawyer who’ll be handling your defense. The investigators have the authority to review your online activity and your phone may be wiretapped.
  • Always ask for a search warrant or a subpoena. Without these documents the agents can’t force you to give them any papers or search your home or office.
  • Call an attorney who specializes in your kind of cases as soon as possible.

Prompt assistance of an experienced legal counsel can help you get the dismissed, lower criminal penalties, change the degree of the crime you’re charged with to a less severe, even change the court your case will be prosecuted at from federal to state.

Federal Fraud Sentencing Guidelines

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85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005




35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106




195 Montague St.
14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201



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