Federal fraud is a broad term that covers a wide range of illegal activities. When fraud involves multiple conspirators, large amounts of money, or activity that crosses state and international lines, the federal government may choose to prosecute the offenses rather than allow the cases to continue in state courts.
Federal intervention in a Charleston fraud case is a sign that criminal activity is being taken very seriously. Accordingly, penalties for federal crimes are often substantially more severe than those for state crimes. An investigation may be conducted by high-powered federal agencies, and cases are often pursued by experienced federal prosecutors.
If you are facing federal fraud charges, consider seeking assistance from a Charleston federal fraud lawyer who understands your rights. A criminal defense attorney familiar with federal laws and procedures could help you pursue a positive outcome in your case.
Types of Federal Fraud
Federal fraud crimes, broadly defined, involve illegal gain through the use of deceptive practices. Federal law prohibits numerous forms of fraud, including:
- Mail fraud
- Wire fraud
- Tax fraud
- Securities fraud
- Medicare fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Bankruptcy fraud
A qualified attorney could examine each element that prosecutors must prove for misusing government funds and work to show that the evidence against the defendant is deficient. For instance, if a defendant made a false statement and received a benefit based on that false statement, an attorney could work to show that the individual believed the statement to be true and thus had no fraudulent intent.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud
With respect to penalties and sentencing, the prosecution of fraud in federal court differs from prosecution in state court. Federal judges frequently work from federal sentencing guidelines that are stricter than those at the state level.
For example, for offenses such as embezzlement and forgery, federal guidelines specify a base sentence which a judge may increase if the value of the property involved in the offense exceeds a specified amount. Other factors can also increase the length and severity of a penalty, such as the misappropriation of trade secrets, trafficking in stolen property, or the misrepresentation of a charitable organization.
Points are assigned based on the criminal history of the individual involved, along with any aggravating factors, and these variables together produce a range of possible imprisonment. A skilled attorney in Charleston could build a defense against such aggravating factors to work towards the lowest sentence for a federal fraud offense.
Consult a Knowledgeable Charleston Federal Fraud Attorney
Federal fraud charges could have a long-term impact on your employment and housing, since potential employers, lenders, landlords, and others may think twice about working with someone with a conviction. If you secure representation from a Charleston federal fraud lawyer, your attorney could not only help you fight your criminal charges but assist with minimizing other negative consequences as well.
Federal fraud allegations can be challenging to defend against, but a dedicated attorney with experience fighting federal charges could explore every available avenue of defense. Call today to get started exploring your legal options.