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When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

How Do the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Work in Fraud Cases?

The federal sentencing guidelines for fraud provide for serious penalties, including potential prison time. If you are facing any type of federal fraud charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who practices in both state and federal court. This can help you determine what you might be facing and the most appropriate defense strategy to take. You need to understand how federal sentencing in fraud cases works.

What is federal fraud?

Federal fraud includes many different types of white collar crimes, including the following:

  • Mail fraud
  • Internet fraud
  • Government procurement fraud
  • Health care fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Credit card fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Wire fraud

While each of these offenses has unique elements, all types of fraud cases have similarities. Essentially, federal fraud cases include allegations that a defendant participated in a fraudulent scheme or made misrepresentations to secure something of value through deceit. Regardless of which type of federal fraud charge you are facing, the prosecutor must meet the burden of proof to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. You might be able to successfully defend against fraud allegations and the significant penalties you might otherwise face.

Federal fraud sentencing guidelines

Since most financial crimes are similar to each other, most fall under the United States Sentencing Guidelines §2B1.1. These sentencing guidelines are fairly complex, and certain offenses might also have other, specific guidelines that apply, including forgery, counterfeit instruments, stolen property, embezzlement, and other types of theft.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

Courts use a points system to determine the penalty range for crimes covered by §2b1.1. The points system includes several factors that are used to calculate points.

All federal crimes are assessed base points. For fraud, around six or seven points will be counted as the base points. Seven base points are assessed for crimes referenced in the guideline that carry a statutory maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and six points are assessed otherwise. Next, the court calculates the loss. The loss calculation includes the intended or actual loss, whichever is greater. Points are higher for greater losses. A loss table is included in §2b1.1(B) with increases in levels for loss amounts above $6,500 as follows:

  • Loss of $6,501 to $15,000 – Two levels added
  • Loss of $15,001 to $40,000 – Four levels added
  • Loss of $40,001 to $95,000 – Six levels added
  • Loss of $95,001 to $150,000 – Eight levels added
  • Loss of $150,001 to $250,000 – 10 levels added
  • Loss of $250,001 to $550,000 – 12 levels added
  • Loss of $550,001 to $1,500,000 – 14 levels added
  • Loss of $1,500,001 to $3,500,000 – 16 levels added
  • Loss of $3,500,001 to $9,500,000 – 18 levels added
  • Loss of $9,500,001 to $25,000,000 – 20 levels added
  • Loss of $25,000,001 to $65,000,000 – 22 levels added
  • Loss of $65,000,0001 to $150,000,000 – 24 levels added
  • Loss of $150,000,001 to $250,000,000 – 28 levels added
  • Loss of more than $550,000,000 – 30 levels added

For example, a case with losses assessed at an increase of eight levels could result in an increased range from 15 to 20 months.

The sentencing court will then consider any aggravating or mitigating factors to determine whether to enhance the sentence or lower it. Some aggravating factors include such things as abuse of a position of trust, using mass marketing schemes, having multiple victims or vulnerable victims, using minors to commit the offense, and being the leader of a fraud scheme. These types of aggravating factors can result in a longer sentence when they are present.

Mitigating factors can help to bring a potentially long sentence to something more reasonable. For example, people who only played minor roles and have accepted responsibility might receive mitigated penalties.

Once these steps have been completed, the court will add up all of the points to determine the offense level. The court will then consider the defendant’s criminal record to determine the appropriate range under the federal sentencing guidelines. Courts can depart from a guideline range, but a federal fraud conviction can still carry a long prison sentence.

Consult with an experienced federal crimes attorney

If you have been indicted for a federal fraud crime, you need to understand the importance of getting help from an experienced criminal defense attorney who practices in federal court. The federal court system has significant differences from state criminal court. If you are convicted of a federal fraud crime, you could face a much longer sentence than you might for the same offense under state law.

It is likewise important to retain an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer if you have learned that you are being investigated for a federal fraud crime but have not yet been charged. In some cases, a good defense lawyer might be able to negotiate with the federal prosecutor to secure an agreement not to pursue an indictment. Your defense attorney can help to identify potential issues in the government’s case against you and work to build the strongest possible defense strategy. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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