Basically, fraud is theft by deceit. Most fraud cases involve a person doing something dishonest to obtain goods, services, or money from another entity or person. In the case of government fraud,the situation involves a person accused of not being truthful in their application for government assistance. If the government proves that they were untruthful and knowingly made a false application, then they stand the risk of a different type of fraud conviction within the federal legal system.
In a federal offense is against a federal program, it will always be heard in federal court, which is why it is pertinent to hire an experienced Virginia federal government fraud lawyer. There is a major difference between defending state level cases and federal cases, and having someone with knowledge and experience at the federal level will make a huge difference.
There are three main types of fraud that deal with government programs. The first involves people who have applied for welfare. There are forms that are required to be filled out under oath where a person has to state any job prospects, their income, the number of dependents upon which they are relying on the receipt of government assistance, and other important variables that determine whether a person is eligible. Fraud comes into play when people fill out forms incorrectly by understating their income or overstating their dependents.
Another two types of fraud involving government programs deal with healthcare. One type of healthcare fraud involves people who receive medical stipends from the government based on information that the government alleges inaccurate. The other type is when healthcare providers inaccurately or over-bill Medicare or Medicaid for their services.
Fraud committed against the Virginia state government can be charged as a federal crime in the sense that the government can charge anything where interstate commerce is affected. Even though it might be a Virginia resident making an application to a Virginia state government entity, it still may affect interstate commerce if the person used the US Mail, internet, or even the telephone system. These are all triggers for the interstate commerce rule.
Additionally, there are some misconceptions regarding how the government prosecutes government fraud charges that involve corporations. In reality, charges against corporations are quite common and an experienced federal government fraud attorney can discuss the nuances in more detail.
In many cases that involve fraud against the Virginia state government, the charges usually begin at the state level before they are escalated to the federal level. There are distinct differences between how cases are prosecuted at the federal and state level. Once the case escalates to the federal level, it is important for people to understand that the charges and potential repercussions they face can also escalate. Government officials do not take fraud charges against the government lightly, and will conduct extensive investigations into the program.
It is possible to be charged with fraud for mistakes or mere misunderstandings; however, to sustain a conviction for fraud, the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that a mistake that was made on an application for government assistance was made. The key word in all fraud cases is “knowingly.”
A person must knowingly omit or include something false on an application for federal assistance. If a mistake is made and the defendant can show that it was an honest mistake and not one that was calculated to increase benefits unjustly, then they should not be convicted.
Being charged with or investigated for defrauding the government is a very serous matter that needs the utmost attention in order to preserve your liberty and ensure your rights are protected.
That is why it is imperative to contact a Virginia federal government fraud lawyer as soon as possible to begin building your defense.