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DC Federal Fraud Cases

Fraud is an intentional deception or misrepresentation taken by an individual to benefit themselves or others. For example, federal fraud could happen in a government program that gives out grants and requires certifications before a business or an individual may participate in the program.

Fraud cases are frequently heard in federal court but state prosecutors may also bring fraud cases. A fraud involving a federal government agency will be handled by federal prosecutors.

Federal fraud crimes are nearly always charged as felonies. Misdemeanors are possible depending on the circumstances of a specific situation. If you are facing charges, you should contact a seasoned lawyer who is experienced with DC federal fraud cases. Let a dedicated federal fraud attorney fight for you.

Deciding Whether the Fraud is a State or Federal Crime

When a federal agency such as the Department of Defense, Small Business Administration, or Social Security Administration is involved, the case is federal. When grants awarded by a federal agency are involved in fraud, federal prosecutors handle fraud committed against federal departments or agencies. When a state government is the target of fraud, there must be a determination of whether the case is federal or not. If the fraud is committed against a business or individual (as opposed to a government department or agency), the prosecutors decide if it should be in state or federal court. Smaller versions of fraud such as an individual defrauding a small business can be handled by state prosecutors and typically are.

What if the Fraud is Committed Against a State Government Entity?

If the fraud is committed against a state government entity, the prosecutors could decide whether state or federal prosecutors handle the case. Fraud with respect to the DC government might end up in federal court or Superior Court depending on the approach the US Attorney’s Office decides to take. Fraud might occur in a state, city, or county government in Maryland or Virginia. If employees commit fraud against the government or embezzle money, the amount of funds involved may determine whether federal prosecutors handle the case.

Federal Fraud Penalties and Long-Term Repercussions

Mail fraud and wire fraud charges are the most serious of DC federal fraud cases. They are frequently brought in federal fraud cases, and they may carry up to 20 years in jail. Usually, a person who is a target of one of these investigations knows early on about it and should get an attorney to start working on their defense immediately. Waiting does not help, it just makes things worse and gives the government a head start on putting together a criminal case against the individual.

The most immediate long-term implication of a fraud conviction is jail time. A person convicted of fraud faces a sentence of up to 20 years in jail. The actual sentence is determined by the judge, who commits the sentencing guidelines recommendations for how much jail time should be served. Also, a defendant could be facing significant fines.

In addition, consequences flow from having a criminal record for fraud. Future employment may be difficult to find, especially when a job is a position of trust or involves handling money. An individual could lose their professional license such as a license to practice law or a license to sell real estate. If one has immigration status issues, they could face consequences that may include deportation. People convicted of fraud could lose their voting rights, forfeit any assets that were illegally gained, and may be required to pay restitution.

Proving Fraud Cases

In DC federal fraud cases, the prosecutors must prove that a person was induced into giving money or something of value under false pretenses or based on false or deceptive information. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the individual who allegedly committed fraud did so to trick someone into paying money or giving something of value to them.

Usually, document-intensive cases rely heavily on bank, tax, and business financial records. The prosecution may use emails to show communications between the parties allegedly involved in an effort to commit fraud. The authorities interview witnesses such as the accountant for the business or an employee of the financial institution that handled the funds. Frequently, they look at the people around the individual accused of committing fraud, such as a secretary, colleague, or co-worker.

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