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Maryland Federal Government Program Fraud Charges

When someone commits fraud against a government program, they are looking at facing felony charges. For most types of felony fraud offenses, the conduct must involve a minimum amount of $1,000. If the offense is charged by federal authorities and under a federal statute, the case will be heard in federal court. If you are facing Maryland federal government program fraud charges, contact an experienced government fraud attorney today.

Common Government Programs Where Fraud Takes Place

Criminal fraud can take place in any government program that disburses federal funds, which includes both federal and state government agencies. Healthcare fraud is one of the most common types of criminal government program fraud. This is because many people target Medicare and Medicaid when conducting fraudulent activity. Criminal fraud also commonly occurs in housing, student aid, and loan assistance programs.

Fraud Against the State Government

Fraud committed against a state government entity can qualify as an act of federal government fraud. The key factor is whether the state government entity receives federal funding and how the state government entity administers that funding.

If the state administers the distribution of funds and is more than just a pass-through for federal money, then fraud against the state entity will likely qualify as a federal crime. Fraud against any state government entity will likely be subject to state criminal prosecution, whether or not the conduct implicates federal law.

Deciding if Fraud is a Federal Crime

Generally, if fraudulent conduct satisfies the elements of a federal criminal statute, it will be a federal case.  As discussed above, the key component is whether the government program administers federal funds. For federal government programs, this factor is clearly obvious. Many state programs also receive and administer federal funds, therefore, fraud against these state programs often qualify as a federal crime.

In many Marland federal government program fraud charges, the same conduct may violate federal and state law and the perpetrator can be subject to prosecution by federal and state authorities. This is called dual jurisdiction. Even if such dual prosecution is not barred by state law, in most cases, federal and state prosecutors will discuss the matter and come to an arrangement. In a majority of cases, the state prosecution will drop the charges and the defendant will be subject to only federal prosecution.

How Jurisdiction is Determined

Jurisdiction is based on the alleged conduct. If the alleged behavior involved an agency that disburses federal funds, there will likely be federal jurisdiction. If the conduct involved a state agency, there will likely be state jurisdiction. Many times, alleged criminal conduct falls in both of these categories, which is called dual jurisdiction, and both federal and state court may legally prosecute the conduct. When dual jurisdiction exists, federal and state prosecutors will discuss the case and decide how to proceed. In most cases, the state authorities will defer to federal authorities. Usually, this results in state prosecutors dismissing the state charges in state court, and the case proceeds in federal court, prosecuted by federal prosecutors. To learn more about Maryland federal government program fraud charges, call a knowledgeable lawyer today.

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