If you have been charged with fraud, there are many reasons why it might be tried in a federal court instead of a state court. Generally a fraud charge will be tried in federal court if it involved a federal agency, federal infrastructure, or violated federal laws.
Federal Criminal Defense for Federal Fraud Charges and other Financial Crimes
If you’ve been charged with a federal fraud crime and need a federal criminal defense attorney in Maryland, Washington D.C., or Virginia, the Flynn Law Firm is here to take your case. Contact us today for a consultation so we can discuss the specifics of your case. The Flynn Law Firm is experienced in fraud defense cases, and is looking forward to representing you.
Types of Federal Fraud Charges
There are many types of fraud charges that can be brought at the Federal level, but below are some of the more common instances of federal fraud crimes. If your case is not listed below, you will be able to discuss this during a consultation with the Flynn Law Firm to discuss your circumstances.
Defrauding or attempting to defraud a U.S. Government Agency
In this case, the defendant has been arrested and charged with defrauding (or attempting to defraud) a federal agency, such as the IRS or any other federal government agency. Whereas unemployment is handled on the state level, and therefore, unemployment fraud would be considered a state crime, federal fraud charges include “any willful impairment of a legitimate function of government, whether or not the improper acts or objective are criminal under another statute.” United States v. Tuohey, 867 F.2d 534, 537 (9th Cir. 1989).”
Fraud or attempted fraud using telephone, U.S. mail, the internet, or other communications
Commonly referred to as “wire fraud,” this covers any circumstance where there is an attempt to defraud someone by use of U.S. mail, telephone scams, the internet, or other forms of communication. It is sometimes used as a modifier for a separate fraud charge, as oftentimes at least some part of the fraudulent activities took place using U.S. communications systems.
Financial Institution Fraud
Any act or attempt of fraud that takes place against a financial institution that is insured or regulated by the U.S. Government is considered a Federal crime. This includes embezzlement, check fraud, counterfeiting, falsifying applications, and a variety of other attempts to mislead a financial institution for illegal financial gains.
Securities Fraud, Insider Trading
Securities Fraud, as well as Insider Trading, are charges stemming from fraudulent activity with the intention of deceiving investors.
Securities fraud includes, but is not limited to: withholding, falsifying, or manipulating information in order to influence the purchasing or sales decisions of investors. Often, although not always, this results in a financial loss for the investor. One high-profile case of securities fraud in the early 2000s was the company Enron. Enron was found to have routinely falsified public financial reports to hide billion of dollars of debt in order to keep their stock prices high.
Insider trading generally refers to an insider party making stock purchase or sales decisions based on information that has not yet been made available to the public. This could be a situation where an employee or board member of a publicly-traded company knows that there is an announcement coming that will negatively impact the stock trading price, and sells before the announcement is made. Famously, Martha Stewart was found guilty of insider trading and sentenced to five months in prison after selling over $250,000 in shares of a pharmaceutical company after learning that a new experimental drug was not going to get FDA approval before this announcement was made public.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is a wide-ranging cybersecurity bill that covers many acts of fraud by use of computer. It includes illegal access to a computer by ignoring or overstepping authorization. This includes personal computers, but is additionally designed to cover illegal access to any computer within the U.S. Government network without authorization. In addition to access, it includes the dissemination of private information recovered on a computer, defrauding computer traffic in a way that affects foreign and interstate commerce, or any computer used by the government. The CFAA also specifically details the prohibition of extortion or attempted extortion by use of computer transmissions.
Penalties for Federal Fraud Charges
There is a wide range of penalties associated with federal fraud charges, depending on such factors as the number of charges, extent of the charges, criminal history, and much more. Below is a list of the general penalties, although the severity of each is impossible to assume without a detailed understanding of your case.
The amount of fines levied against a party found guilty of federal fraud depends on the amount of money involved in the fraud, the number of charges, and more. Oftentimes, the amounts will be significant.
In addition to fines, many cases can result in prison sentences in federal facilities. As with fines, there is a wide range of severity based on the specifics of the case, and is best to be discussed with your defense attorney.
Probation may be required instead of, alongside, or in addition to fines and/or imprisonment, again depending on the specifics and outcome of your case and the extent of your charges.
Finally, there will likely be the requirement that the guilty party repay the defrauded party either a percentage or full amount of the funds. The range of repayment is very specific to the case at hand.
Finding the Right Attorney for Federal Fraud Charges
No matter the specifics and extent of your federal fraud charges, if you are located in Washington D.C., Virginia, or Maryland, the Flynn Law Firm is available to discuss your case in a consultation, and identify the most effective course of action to defend your case. Federal fraud charges are very serious and have the potential of extensive penalties, and it is important to have a confident, experienced legal defense team on your side. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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