A New York City Defense Lawyer Explains Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
Fraud charges are serious charges, especially when the federal government becomes involved and begins prosecuting a case. A wide variety of different kinds of fraud crimes are illegal under both New York law and federal law, and as a general rule most defendants are prosecuted on the state level. However, there are situations where the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal cases, or where the federal government is more likely to become involved in prosecuting defendants. Fraud crimes that often prompt federal involvement include mail fraud, wire fraud, false claims against the United States, and bank fraud.
Any defendant facing a fraud charge could face a very lengthy prison term, especially if the federal government is prosecuting the case. Defendants may also be surprised to find they are charged with offenses they did not actually personally commit. This can occur if you become involved in a fraud scheme with others, or if you attempt to become involved in a fraud scheme with others. Under federal conspiracy laws, you can be charged with all offenses that were committed by you co-conspirators when you join together with them to violate anti-fraud laws.
Conspiracy to commit fraud is a serious charge and you need to get legal help right away. A prosecutor must prove you played a role in the conspiracy, and a NY criminal defense lawyer at Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can help you to try to undermine the case against you by calling evidence into question. Call as soon as possible when you have been accused of conspiring to break the law so you can fight the charges you face.
Defining Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
Fraud is broadly defined to include making material misleading statements or intentionally omitting material information. A defendant may be charged with fraud not just for making statements that he knows are false or for omitting information he knows is material, but also in situations where a defendant was negligent in determining the truth. In other words, a defendant cannot avoid fraud charges by turning a blind eye to blatant lies.
Fraud schemes often involve multiple parties working together to try to make false claims or enrich themselves through falsehoods. Whenever any defendant is involved in a plot with others to commit fraud, this can result in conspiracy charges.
Conspiracy is defined to include a situation where two or more people come together to create a plan to commit a crime. Conspiracy fraud, therefore, is any situation where two or more people work together to develop a scheme to defraud. For a prosecutor to prove conspiracy occurred and was a criminal act, the prosecutor will have to show that at least two co-conspirators created a plan to commit an offense and that any one of the conspirators took some action to further the plan.
A concrete action to further the plan is required because defendants cannot be punished with conspiracy charges just because they talked about committing some type of fraud offense. However, prosecutors will generally go after defendants even if the smallest step was taken towards committing a crime. In other words, no successful fraud need ever have been carried out for a defendant to be charged with conspiracy to be involved in a fraud crime.
Common Types of Fraud Conspiracy Cases
Some of the most common types of cases in which defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud include:
- Conspiracy to commit wire fraud
- Conspiracy to commit bank fraud
- Conspiracy to commit mail fraud
- Conspiracy to commit securities fraud
- Conspiracy to commit insurance fraud
18 U.S. Code Section 1349 makes clear that any person who attempts to commit an offense within the chapter defining fraud crimes, or any person who conspires to commit an offense within the chapter on fraud crimes, can be subject to all of the criminal penalties that are imposed upon a defendant convicted of actually committing the offense.
This means if you create a plan to rob a bank with someone else, and that person robs the bank while you are sitting at home, you could be charged with robbing the bank. Conspiracy cases are very common for fraud crimes, because plans to commit a fraud often involve many different people working together. Conviction can often result in extremely harsh sentences, simply because the fraud offenses such as wire, bank, and mail fraud can all carry maximum penalties of up to 30 years imprisonment depending upon the circumstances.
There are also other federal laws that punish defendants accused of conspiracy as well. For example, the False Claims Act makes clear a defendant can be held responsible not just for submitting claims to the government with material misstatements or material omissions, but also for causing such claims to be submitted. 18 U.S. Code Section 371 also stipulates that if two or more people conspire to commit an offense against the United States or any government agency and any of the co-conspirators take a step towards committing the offense, those involved can be fined and imprisoned for up to five years.
It is important to understand what state and federal civil or criminal laws you are being prosecuted under so you can mount a vigorous defense to accusations.
How a Las Vegas Defense Attorney Can Represent You If You’re Accused of Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
If you have been accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, you need to ensure you are taking the charges extremely seriously because there is a very real possibility you could face decades imprisonment over even low-level involvement in a fraud scheme. A NY criminal defense lawyer can help you to explore options such as turning over evidence on co-conspirators for immunity; negotiating a plea agreement; or building a strategic defense.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC knows federal and NY state fraud laws and can provide you with the guidance and advice you need as you respond to accusations you conspired to commit fraud. Give us a call as soon as you are under investigation so we can start working to build your defense strategy.