Federal Fraud Crimes and Penalties in New York
Fraud crimes are prosecuted both at the state and federal level in New York. Federal fraud charges often carry harsher penalties compared to similar state charges. This article provides an overview of common federal fraud crimes, defenses, and potential penalties faced by defendants in New York.
Common Federal Fraud Crimes
Some of the most common federal fraud crimes charged in New York include:
- Mail and Wire Fraud – Using the mail or electronic communications to further a scheme to defraud someone out of money or property. This covers a wide range of frauds and carries penalties up to 20 years in prison.
- Bank Fraud – Schemes to defraud a bank or obtain money under its control through false statements or representations. Punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
- Securities Fraud – Deceiving investors about a security or manipulating the market. Comes with up to 25 years in prison.
- Healthcare Fraud – Defrauding any healthcare benefit program. Penalties can include up to 10 years imprisonment.
- Identity Theft – Stealing personal information to commit fraud. Can lead to 15 years imprisonment.
- Credit Card Fraud – Possession of stolen or counterfeit credit cards, or use of unauthorized cards. Punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
- Tax Fraud – Willfully attempting to evade taxes through deceit. Carries up to 5 years imprisonment.
- Mortgage Fraud – Misrepresenting income or assets to obtain a mortgage. Can result in up to 30 years imprisonment.
The potential penalties depend on the specific charges brought and amounts involved. Many fraud schemes will involve multiple interconnected charges.
Defenses Against Federal Fraud Charges
There are several legal defenses that a skilled attorney may use to fight federal fraud allegations:
- No intent to defraud – The prosecution must prove you knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud. For instance, if you unknowingly passed counterfeit bills.
- Entrapment – When you were induced by government agents to commit a crime you otherwise wouldn’t have.
- Statute of limitations – Prosecutors must bring charges within 5 years for most frauds.
- Illegal search – Evidence obtained through an unlawful search can possibly be suppressed.
- Misidentification – Mistaken identity if prosecutors have the wrong person.
- Duress – You were forced to commit the crime under threat.
An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can analyze the specifics of your case to determine if any of these defenses apply.
Penalties for Federal Fraud Convictions
A federal fraud conviction can carry severe consequences depending on the charges and amounts involved. Penalties may include:
- Prison time – Most federal frauds carry potential prison sentences of 5-30 years. Some minor frauds 1 year or less.
- Fines – Most fraud convictions also involve maximum fines from $100,000 to $1 million. Fines can sometimes be doubled.
- Restitution – Having to repay victims for their losses from the fraud.
- Probation – A period of supervised release, often 5 years, instead of prison.
- Forfeiture – Assets connected to the fraud can be seized by the government.
- Loss of licenses – Professional licenses can be revoked following a conviction.
- Deportation – Frauds over $10,000 qualify as aggravated felonies resulting in deportation.
- Civil lawsuits – Victims can file civil suits to recover additional damages.
- Reputational harm – Fraud convictions damage professional reputations and future job prospects.
The penalties imposed depend on the specific offenses charged, criminal histories, and amounts involved. Experienced federal defense lawyers can help negotiate plea deals or defend at trial to minimize penalties.
Hiring an Attorney for Federal Fraud Charges
Facing federal fraud charges can be an overwhelming experience given the complexity of these cases and severity of potential penalties. Hiring an experienced federal criminal defense attorney is critical to protect your rights and build the strongest defense.
Look for lawyers with extensive experience specifically defending federal fraud cases in New York. Understand the defenses that may apply in your case. Ask about the lawyer’s track record getting charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial. Be sure you have an attorney you trust to aggressively defend you against these allegations.
With skilled legal representation, some fraud charges can potentially be reduced or even dismissed. An attorney can also negotiate plea bargains to minimize penalties or defend at trial if you choose to fight the charges. Although the process can be difficult, an experienced lawyer can guide you through the complex federal criminal justice system.