It goes without saying that being charged with fraud is a serious matter — even more so if the federal government investigates and prosecutes the case. Under both federal law and New York law, a number of fraud crimes are illegal, and in most cases, defendants are prosecuted at the state level. However, in some situations, the federal government steps in, claiming exclusive jurisdiction in criminal cases. Fraud crimes that typically prompt involvement from the federal government include bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and false claims against the U.S. government.
Any individual accused of fraud faces a lengthy prison sentence, particularly if the federal government is prosecuting. Defendants may also be charged with crimes they did not physically or personally commit such as if they participated in a scam with other people. Federal conspiracy laws mandate that any defendant may face the same charges as his or her co-conspirators if the group attempted to violate anti-fraud laws.
If you have been accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, you are facing a serious charge and should consider obtaining legal representation as soon as possible. In order to convict you, a prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you played a role in the conspiracy. Here at Raisser & Kenniff, PC, a New York criminal defense lawyer can call evidence into question and help you to undermine the charges against you. If you have been accused of conspiring to break the law or commit fraud, call us today for legal representation.
Conspiracy to Commit Fraud Definition
“Fraud” is broadly defined as intentionally omitting material information or making material misleading statements. A defendant may be charged with fraud for being negligent in determining the truth, for hiding information he knows is critical or for making statements he knows are false. In other words, it is not possible to avoid a fraud charge by turning a blind eye to lies.
Many fraud schemes involve people working together to enrich themselves through falsehoods or to make false claims. When a defendant participates in a scam to commit fraud, this results in conspiracy charges. By definition, conspiracy includes situations in which two or more people create a plan to commit a crime. Therefore, conspiracy fraud includes situations in which two or more people create a plan to defraud.
However, in order to be convicted, a prosecutor must show that one member of the group took steps or action to further the plan. In other words, you cannot be charged with conspiracy to commit fraud just because you talked about it. Still, even the smallest step towards committing a crime may lead to a conviction.
Types of Fraud Conspiracy Cases
There are number of fraud conspiracy case examples, but some of the most common include:
Under 18 U.S. Code Section 1349, anyone who conspires to commit fraud or who attempts to commit fraud may be subject to the same criminal penalties that are imposed on someone convicted of being the one who committed the crime. For example, if you develop a plan to rob a bank with a friend and your friend goes ahead and robs the bank, you could still face charges for robbing the bank, even if you did not physically go through the motions. Penalties can include harsh sentences mainly because mail, bank and wire fraud each carry maximum penalties of up to three decades in jail.
Additionally, 18 U.S. Code Section 371 maintains that if two or more people are involved in a conspiracy to commit fraud against the U.S. or any government agency and those individuals take action to commit the offense, the defendants may be imprisoned for up to five years and receive a hefty fine.
Accused of Conspiracy to Commit Fraud? A New York Defense Attorney Can Help
If you are facing accusations of conspiracy to commit fraud, it is important to take the charges seriously. A New York criminal defense attorney at Raisser & Kenniff, PC can discuss your options with you, including building a strategic defense, negotiating a plea agreement or handing over evidence about your co-conspirators in exchange for immunity. To speak with a member of our legal team today, please contact Raisser & Kenniff, PC for more information.
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