Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Virginia
A Virginia federal criminal lawyer can help in circumstances where an individual is facing federal charges in a U.S. District Court in Virginia. In general, the crimes that occur within Virginia’s borders are prosecuted by the Commonwealth’s Attorney for a particular city or county. In most states, these prosecutors are called Assistant or Deputy District Attorneys. However, crimes that violate federal law are prosecuted by federal prosecutors who work for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
Most federal criminal cases are handled by the United States Attorney’s Office, which is a regional branch of the DOJ. Federal criminal cases are also handled by other federal prosecutors who work within various specialized units in the Criminal Division of the DOJ.
Some examples of the types of criminal cases brought by federal prosecutors where a Virginia federal criminal defense attorney can help include: narcotics trafficking and/or conspiracy cases, crimes that involve interstate commerce or that cross state or international borders, crimes involving financial markets, health care fraud, crimes related to political elections or public corruption offenses, terrorism or national security offenses, and/or crimes that occur on federal property or within a federal territory, among many other offenses.
Representation From a Virginia Federal Criminal Lawyer
White collar crimes including embezzlement, tax fraud, and health care fraud are but a few categories of federal criminal offenses frequently handled in the United State District Courts of the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. Federal sex crimes such as distribution of child pornography, transporting minors for illicit sex, child sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and international sex tourism, are also handled in federal courts.
Regardless of the offense with which a person is charged, federal criminal offenses are serious and could result in a substantial period of incarceration for those convicted.
Obtaining legal representation from a federal criminal defense attorney in Virginia knowledgeable about federal criminal prosecutions is the best way to protect your rights and reputation amid such potentially devastating allegations. Federal criminal charges are very serious and it is invaluable to consult with an experienced attorney to learn about how they can help you in your case.
Some serious federal felony offenses include:
- Child Pornography
- Federal Drug Crimes
- Federal Gun Charges
- Federal Sex Crimes
- Federal Cybercrimes
- Federal Conspiracy
- Federal Government Fraud
Do Not Face Federal Agencies and Prosecutors On Your Own
Federal crimes are investigated by many different highly skilled and specialized government agencies, some of which include: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the United States Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), just to name a few.
Sometimes these federal agents also work together with state, county, or local police in specialized task forces. Assistant U.S. Attorneys or other federal prosecutors use the evidence obtained by these federal agencies and task forces to build their cases. Often times a federal case process may include a federal grand jury investigation and indictment prior to arrest.
Additionally, these investigations will likely continue even after an arrest and into actual court proceedings. Anyone who is a target of a federal grand jury investigation or is aware that he or she is being investigated for federal criminal charges should secure a well-qualified Virginia federal criminal lawyer to provide a strong defense. During investigations, there is also the possibility that constitutional issues can arise, which is especially when a criminal defense attorney will come in handy.
White Collar Crimes in Federal Cases
Federal criminal laws are enumerated in the United States Code. Some of the acts described therein are prohibited under both state and federal law, but the particular circumstances of the case will determine the appropriate jurisdiction. As such, white collar crimes can be filed as state or federal offenses. Embezzlement and fraud may be prosecuted as crimes in federal court or the local Commonwealth of Virginia state courts.
Some commonly prosecuted federal white collar crimes in Virginia where a Virginia federal criminal lawyer can help include:
- Identity theft
- Public corruption
- Money laundering
- Copyright Infringement
Embezzlement is, in broad terms, the act of taking or misappropriating money or property to which one has access to and converting it for personal use. Often, this involves an employee or volunteer who has control of or access to the accounts of a company or agency being accused of misappropriation. A person may utilize false billing, alter account books, abuse company credit cards, forge checks, or otherwise unlawfully access funds for personal expenditures. Embezzlement can involve the stealing of tangible property beyond just money, such as certain types of property theft.
For example, a construction worker or foreman who is accused of taking building materials from a federal job site in a government-owned vehicle could be prosecuted for embezzlement and the unauthorized use of a government vehicle. This would be an example of an embezzlement related federal crime. If you are facing allegations like those described above, a Virginia federal criminal attorney may be able to help.
Federal embezzlement laws are outlined in Title 18 Chapter 31 of the United States Code. There are a number of statutes pertaining to specific types of embezzlement and theft. See 18 U.S.C. Sections 641 through 669. Under 18 U.S.C. Section 641 conviction for embezzlement of property valued at $1,000 or less is punishable by a maximum of one year in prison. A conviction for embezzlement of property which exceeds a value of $1,000 carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Those convicted of federal embezzlement also face the possibility of hefty fines and restitution.
Embezzlement charges are often accompanied by charges of tax fraud. Americans are required to pay taxes on all income, even illegally obtained income. If a person embezzles $30,000 and fails to report that $30,000 on his or her tax return, he or she can be charged with tax evasion in addition to embezzlement.
Tax fraud — in the broadest sense — is any attempt to circumvent paying taxes owed to the federal government, whether that occurs through not claiming all of one’s income, claiming deductions to which one may not be entitled, or overstating deductions. Under 26 U.S.C. Section 7201, tax fraud is defined as any attempt “to evade or defeat any tax” or its payment.
In addition to IRS civil penalties for tax evasion or late payment, a person who attempts to avoid paying taxes faces a federal felony charge of tax fraud, which is punishable by five years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000 (and up to $500,000 for corporations), and restitution for the costs of prosecution. A federal criminal defense attorney in Virginia may be able to help.
Health Care Fraud (Medicare & Medicaid Fraud)
Federal authorities estimate that health care fraud in the United States costs taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
Thus, the federal government has enacted numerous laws to prohibit and punish those it deems in violation of such laws. While Medicare and Medicaid fraud can be committed by both patients and health care providers, the majority of cases prosecuted in federal court involve medical providers who allegedly abuse the system by making false claims in order to obtain greater compensation than they are rightfully entitled to for the medical services they actually provided.
Common prosecutions for alleged Medicare fraud by providers include:
- Alleged billing for services not rendered or equipment not provided;
- Alleged up-coding, or billing for more expensive procedures than those performed or more expensive equipment than that actually provided;
- Alleged unbundling, or billing for each step of a procedure separately rather than the whole procedure;
- Allegedly accepting kickbacks;
- Allegedly performing unnecessary tests or procedures.
There are several statutes that cover federal health care fraud offenses, including Medicare anti-fraud provisions of Title XI of the Social Security Act, the False Claims Act codified in 31 U.S.C. Sections 3729 through 3733, and the federal anti-kickback statute codified in 42 U.S.C. Section 1320a–7b(b).
The general health care fraud statute is found in 18 U.S.C. Section 1347. Under this statute, anyone who attempts to defraud a health care benefits program can be prosecuted under this statute and if convicted faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. The statute also has sentencing enhancements for offenses which involve serious bodily injury, which increases the maximum penalty to 20 years in prison.
Look For a Criminal Defense Team That Can Represent You In Federal Court
Federal cases in Virginia are prosecuted in either the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or the Western District of Virginia. The Eastern District has courthouse locations in Alexandria, Newport News, Norfolk, and Richmond. The Western District’s has federal courthouses in Abingdon, Big Stone Gap, Charlottesville, Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Roanoke.
The cases handled in U.S. District Court can be appealed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the particular region in which it is located. U.S. District Courts located within the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia are under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is located in Richmond, Virginia. The Fourth Circuit has jurisdiction over all appeals for federal cases handled within Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. A federal criminal lawyer in Virginia is admitted to practice in federal court and can represent you against federal charges. An attorney will conduct thorough investigation for your defense that will benefit your case.
Following a thorough and in-depth investigation, a federal criminal defense team will have compiled evidence that can be used to benefit a client in court against the government.
2015 Diversity Scholarship Winner Announced!
We are excited to announce that we have chosen a winner for our 2015 Diversity Scholarship! Our 2015 White Collar Defense Diversity Scholarship offered one $500 award to the winning applicant. The scholarship was open to African American and Hispanic students from single-mother homes who are committed to pursuing a quality education and who have a demonstrated ability for overcoming adversity and challenges related to their backgrounds.
The 2015 winner of the White Collar Defense Diversity Scholarship is Christina Anderson, a 3L from University of North Carolina School of Law. To learn more about our 2015 winner and to read her winning essay, visit our past winners page here.
Now Accepting 2016 Diversity Scholarship Applications
Information on our 2016 scholarship is available on our 2016 White Collar Defense Diversity Scholarship page. We are now accepting applications! Eligibility requirements include a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, a letter of recommendation, a current unofficial transcript, and a 1,000 word essay. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2016, and the winner will be notified over the summer.