Many private individuals and entities participate in transactions with the government. Companies may contract with government agencies to provide infrastructure, defense services, or a wide variety of other services. Healthcare providers may also bill government insurers including Medicare and Medicaid.
In all transactions with the government, private individuals and organizations are expected to be honest and to avoid violating laws related to illegal bribery or kickbacks. Public officials are also held to high standards and are not permitted to abuse their positions of power to financially enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers.
If you are an individual, a public official, or the representative of a company that is accused of fraud against government, you should be aware that both civil and criminal actions could follow. Federal and state agencies will conduct aggressive investigations, assets could be seized and accounts frozen, and serious penalties could be imposed. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC has experience providing representation to private individuals, public workers, and companies accused of fraud against the government and we can help you to respond to all accusations. Give us a call as soon as possible to learn more.
Fraud against the government occurs when material misleading statements are made in connection with any claim for government benefits or claims for payouts from government programs. Failure to disclose material information affecting eligibility for benefits is prohibited fraud, as is making untrue statements in connection with any claim for benefits.
Fraud does not just occur when information is withheld or when misleading information is provided. It is also possible to commit fraud by violating laws that are intended to protect taxpayer funds through ensuring a competitive marketplace. For example, bribing government officials (or accepting bribes) is considered a form of fraud, as is the solicitation, acceptance, payment, or offer of illegal kickbacks.
Some of the common situations where fraud against the government arises include:
- False Claims Act violations
- Contracting fraud
- Defense contracting fraud
- Public construction projects fraud
- Grant and scientific research fraud
- Procurement fraud
- Falsely claiming citizenship
- Fraud in connection with Federal Housing Administration matters
The specific definition of fraud is going to vary depending upon the type of misleading actions you are accused of involvement in. Prosecutors usually have to prove not only that the government was misled, but also that the defendant acted knowingly and willfully. In other words, you can be convicted of fraud only if you purposefully made false statements or material omissions or if you caused such statements or omissions to be made.
Defendants may also be charged for conspiracy to defraud if they played any role in a scheme against the government, no matter how minor their part in the plan. If you are accused of conspiring with others as part of a fraud scheme, you can face charges for all wrongful acts and legal violations committed by co-conspirators. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON:
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Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
The federal government has passed many different laws aimed at fighting fraud and corruption. These include:
- 18 U.S.C. Section 1001, which addresses false statements
- 18 U.S.C Section 287, which addresses false claims.
- 18 U.S.C. Section 371, which addresses conspiracy to defraud the government.
- 18 U.S.C. Section 666, which provides for the prosecution of people who steal money or divert services or property from state and local governments as well as from private entities receiving substantial amounts of federal funds.
- 41 U.S.C. Section 51, which is the Anti-Kickback Statute that addresses the payment, solicitation, offering, or acceptance of kickbacks in connection with government contracts.
- 41 U.S.C. Section 423, which is the Procurement Integrity Act and aims to prevent fraud in the procurement of equipment and services.
Defendants may also be prosecuted under other laws, including Section 201 of Title 18 related to bribery of public officials. When you are accused of a violation of laws prohibiting government fraud, you need to know what statute or statute(s) you are being prosecuted under so you can understand what a prosecutor must prove and begin building a defense. Defendants are often indicted on multiple different counts, so you may need an aggressive legal strategy to fight many different allegations against you.
Defendants who defraud government programs are often caught and punished because of the False Claims Act, which is codified in 31 U.S. Code Sections 3729 to 3733. The False Claims Act makes defendants liable for knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, any false claims for payment or approval. Making false records or statements in connection with a false claims; false certification related to property to be used by the government; or conspiring to commit violations of the Act are also prohibited.
The False Claims Act is a powerful tool because of provisions allowing for Qui Tam lawsuits to be filed. Qui Tam lawsuits can be brought by anyone- including civilians not associated with the government- who has information on fraudulent or false claims. Whistleblowers, including people who work for companies defrauding the government, file Qui Tam cases and are rewarded for doing so by getting to keep some of the money the government ends up recovering. People who file Qui Tam lawsuits have been rewarded with millions of dollars, so there is very strong incentive for people to come forward and report fraud.
If you are named as a defendant in a False Claims Act case, or if you are under investigation or facing any legal action for fraud against the government, you need to act assertively and you need to act aggressively to try to protect yourself. You have options for negotiating plea deals, fighting to get charges dropped, or building a defense against the accusations raised- but the sooner you act, the more effectively you can take advantage of these options.
Call Bukh Law Firm, PLLC today to speak with a NY criminal defense lawyer who has helped many past clients accused of fraud against the government and who has the legal experience necessary to help you develop a strong legal strategy.