7 Types of Fraud That Can Lead to Federal Charges
Generally, fraud involves falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting material information to cause a loss to another person or entity or unlawfully obtaining money, property, or other benefits. The federal government identifies various types of acts as fraud. They include, but are not limited to, making false statements on bankruptcy documents or using the U.S. Postal Service or electronic communications to further a scheme to defraud. Federal investigations for alleged violations of the law are extensive, and prosecutors use a range of resources to attempt to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The punishments for being convicted of a federal fraud charge can vary. Still, because most of the acts are felonies, potential penalties will generally include years of imprisonment.
If you’re facing federal charges for fraud or another offense, schedule a consultation with a member of our Bergen County team at Brickfield & Donahue by calling (201) 574-7919 or submitting an online contact form today.
Federal Fraud Statutes
The federal government has established various statutes concerning the different types of fraud that can be committed.
Below are a few examples of the laws:
Bankruptcy Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 157
Bankruptcy fraud involves devising a scheme to defraud in connection with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition or any document filed in a Chapter 11 proceeding. Conduct can consist of making false statements or omitting material information on the petition or any paperwork submitted. The penalties for bankruptcy fraud can include up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine.
Computer Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 1030
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1030, it is unlawful to gain unauthorized access to a computer to obtain national defense, foreign relations, or financial record information. It is also illegal to access a computer without permission and cause damage to the system. Depending on the conduct, the offense is punishable by a maximum of 10 or 20 years in prison.
Health Care Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 1347
It is a federal offense to defraud a health care benefit program or obtain money or property through false or fraudulent pretenses. Health care fraud schemes can take many forms, but all are designed to defraud the program and its participants. Examples of acts that can be prosecuted under the statute include billing for services that were not rendered, billing for unnecessary services, or prescribing unnecessary medications.
Identity Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 1028
It is a federal offense to produce, transfer, or possess a false or stolen identification document when the activity affects interstate or foreign commerce. Examples of identification documents include those issued by the U.S. Government or state-issued birth certificates, driver’s licenses, or personal identification cards. The crime is codified under 18 U.S.C. § 1028 and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Mail and Wire Fraud – 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343
Mail and wire fraud are federal crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The basis of the offense is a scheme to defraud someone of money or property, usually through the use of false pretenses. For a defendant to be convicted of mail fraud, the government must prove that the defendant used the U.S. Postal Service or a private or commercial interstate carrier to further the scheme. Wire fraud is similar but requires that the defendant use electronic communications, such as email or text messages, to carry out the alleged act.
Securities Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 1348
Under 18 U.S.C. 1348, it is a federal crime to knowingly execute, or attempt to execute, a scheme to defraud using false or fraudulent pretenses concerning the purchase or sale of any security or commodity for future delivery. This law applies to any security registered under the Securities Exchange Act, including stocks, bonds, and other investments. The law also prohibits anyone from making false statements or omitting material information to induce someone else to buy or sell a security or commodity.
Violations can result in heavy fines and up to 25 years in prison.
Tax Fraud – 26 U.S.C. § 7201
According to 26 U.S.C. § 7201, anyone who willfully attempts to evade or defeat their taxes can be fined up to $100,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 5 years. Tax fraud can be accomplished by misrepresenting or omitting data, such as income, deductions, or expenses. Other forms of tax fraud include failing to file a return, failing to pay taxes, and making false statements to the IRS.
Reach Out to Our Team
A federal fraud conviction can have lasting consequences. However, an accusation alone does not guarantee that punishments will be levied. If you are alleged to have committed an offense, you can seek to avoid or minimize penalties by fighting the charge.
At Brickfield & Donahue, our Bergen County attorneys recognize what’s at stake in a federal case. That is why we are relentless in pursuing just outcomes for our clients.
To discuss your case with us, please call (201) 574-7919 or contact us online today.