How Do The Federal Sentencing Guidelines Work In Fraud Cases?
Whenever a fraud case is in court, the accused always want to know their fate. They may have admitted to having committed the crime but still not knowing the direction the case will take.
Some guidelines dictate how the judges should make their verdict concerning the fraud cases presented before them. They have to follow them to determine whether to deliver maximum sentencing or minimum sentencing. Such guidelines are known as Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
You could be asking yourself what they are and to whom do they apply? Don’t worry. This article elaborates on the various issues you may want to know. Keep reading to understand better.
What are the Federal Guidelines?
In the past, the Government and prosecutors realized that those who committed white-collar crimes were getting away with them easily. An independent, bipartisan agency within the US called the United States Sentencing Commission came up with recommendations on how federal offenders’ sentencing should be.
However, it’s not mandatory for the judges to follow those guidelines strictly. They can always use their judgment skills in determining the verdict. The sentencing guidelines, although, are persuasive at the verdict stage. They play a significant role in the final verdict. Read the next section to understand.
What is Federal Fraud?
Federal Fraud can be defined in many ways depending on the context. However, it refers to a form of crime committed by a person who steals money and uses it for an unlawful intent that serves a personal interest. Also, fraud can exist in many ways. Below are the common forms of federal fraud
Embezzlement refers to the theft of money or property one is entrusted with for personal intent. The fraud mostly occurs in public offices and is majorly committed by public servants.
2. Tax evasion
Tax evasion is commonly associated with business persons and other people who decide not to share their income with the Federal Government. They mostly do that intentionally, thus justifying why they are generally subjected to harsh sentencing when found guilty.
3. Money laundering
Understanding crime can be complicated, especially if you are knowledgeable about financial matters. Precisely, it’s channeling illegally acquired money through a legal medium to thwart the tax officials and do away with any traceable paths to the illegal sources. Money launders are also subject to harsh sentencing.
Bribery refers to a valuable offer to a person in power or someone capable of influencing a decision. It’s majorly committed in public offices by people who want favorable decisions towards them. Ironically, some people also try to commit this crime in the courts.
5. Mortgage Fraud
It is mostly associated with home homeowners or lenders. It happens when one of the parties tries to alter information on the mortgage documents. The main aim can be to defraud the other party attached to the mortgage plan.
Above are the examples of common fraud practices people do engage in. It would be best if you avoided them because the consequences associated with them are dire.
How do Federal Fraud Sentencing Guidelines work?
As stated, before the Sentencing guideline commission came up with the sentencing guidelines, the Government realized that sentencing the US fraudsters was becoming easier and allowed them to walk away easily. As a result, it ensured that policies are put in place to establish the minimum and maximum sentencing level for fraudsters.
Since then, the sentencing guidelines on fraud became dire to the offenders such that when one thinks of committing it, they first think of how hefty the consequence will be. The sentencing guidelines mainly focus on the loss amount and the characteristics of the crime. The loss amount in that matter does not necessarily mean the amount of money involved in the fraud. It refers to the potential amount.
The characteristics of the offense may include some things. First, it may want to establish whether you have had a past criminal record and if the accused committed the crime. It is the characteristics that determine the weight of the case.
What should you do in case you are involved in a fraud case?
You never know when you will be ina fraud. Remember, even if you are not directly involved, you may find yourself in it indirectly. What matters is what you do immediately, you realize.
The essential thing you should do is seeking legal representation. If you have an attorney who can represent you in court, you can be sure of defending yourself in the best way possible. A lawyer will also guide you on what you should avoid as the case progresses.
At Spodek Law Group, we are always committed to serving you in the best way possible. You can contact us anytime you need legal representation and other forms of consultations.