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Virginia Federal Government Fraud Charges: Misconceptions

Some common misconceptions about federal government fraud include the idea that these charges unfairly target the neediest people in our society—or at least disproportionately target those people. However, if the government detects that a fraud is being committed, they’re going to come after the alleged perpetrator of that fraud regardless of their financial or social status. Someone who has been wrongfully targeted should seek the help of an experienced federal government fraud lawyer in Virginia to help them deal with the potential fall-out from such a charge.

Trends in Prosecution of Virginia Federal Government Fraud

Typically, law enforcement officials go after individuals, but if they detect widespread fraud within a corporation and they think they can prove that that fraud comes from the top or that the corporation and its officers did not do enough to prevent that fraud from happening, then they can also charge the corporate entity as well.

There is a general trend in Virginia federal courts to depart downward from sentencing recommendations in all white-collar cases. Now, every case is different, but as long as there are no particularly aggravating factors associated with the fraud case, these days it’s more likely than not that a judge is going to depart downward from a guideline recommendation. If the loss amount is not too severe and the person is able to make full restitution prior to sentencing, in many cases a judge is willing to sentence the person to probation rather than incarceration, despite a guideline recommendation that might be to the contrary.

Corporations Charged With Federal Government Fraud

Corporations can be charged with federal government fraud in Virginia. In fact, it happens often. Corporate entities are just as responsible for following federal law as private individuals. A corporate entity that incorporates a fraud-based scheme or a fraud-based system as part of its culture can certainly be targeted by a federal investigation and ultimately be charged with a federal offense.

It depends on who the individual is and it depends on the size of the corporation as well. Essentially, what the government tends to look for when they bring charges against an entire corporate entity is the overall culture of that corporation and whether the fraudulent behavior has become a part of their standard operating procedures.

How Employees Can be Impacted by Employers

People can be charged for federal government fraud resulting from their employer’s practices if they participated in a fraudulent activity and they knew it was fraudulent at the time that they did it. There might be cases where the government comes after the worker bee who actually committed the fraud on behalf of the corporation only to find out that the individual was not aware that what he was doing was fraudulent. Remember, the most important element in any fraud charge is intent. The government must prove that the person knew that he or she knowingly did something that they knew was illegal or fraudulent to sustain a conviction. Someone who was unintentionally a pawn in their corporation’s game to defraud the government should seek the advice of an experienced Virginia federal government fraud attorney.