On July 13, a New Jersey woman was sentenced to spend 37 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to fraud charges in June. The woman was convicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States, bribing a public official and subscribing to false federal tax returns.
According to prosecutors, the accused woman gave several bribes to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employee in exchange for VA construction project contracts. A supervisory engineer at the VA's East Orange campus awarded over $6 million in contracts to the accused woman's companies in exchange for her bribery. Prosecutors say the supervisory engineer received around $671,000 from the accused woman from 2007 to 2012. It is unclear if there have been any charges filed against the supervisory engineer for accepting the bribes, but reports indicate that the man is no longer a VA employee.
In addition to the bribes, the accused woman reportedly misrepresented some information about one of the companies that she owned. The woman falsely claimed that the company was owned and operated by a veteran who had become disabled while serving in the military.
Many people are unaware that federal criminal cases involve different sentencing guidelines and procedures than those involving state offenses. A person who is facing federal fraud charges may want to obtain the advice o a criminal defense attorney who has federal experience. An attorney may be able to help determine the strength of the prosecution's case against a defendant and then build an appropriate strategy to use before or at trial.
Source: My9NJ.com, "Woman sentenced for paying bribes, engaging in fraud," Associated Press, July 13, 2015