Federal Fraud

Federal fraud is considered the intentional deception or misrepresentation to benefit from something, typically money. The United States government prosecutes such cases in the U.S Attorney’s Office and penalties vary depending on the type of fraud.

There is a multitude of types of federal fraud, but some of the most common include tax, securities and health care fraud. It is imperative for anyone being investigated for federal fraud to seek experienced legal counsel.

Attorneys for Federal Fraud in Treasure Coast, FL

A federal conviction is no joke. They can entail harsher penalties than a state crime, and the prosecutors will do everything they can to prove you are guilty. Meltzer & Bell has proven experienced with federal fraud cases and our attorneys will fight to protect your rights.

We proudly represent clients in counties along the Treasure Coast that include Martin and Saint Lucie. Call Meltzer & Bell today at (772) 248-1215 or submit your information in the online form to set up a free case consultation.

Overview of Federal Fraud

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Tax Fraud

The IRS confirms nearly 32,000 cases of fraudulent tax returns. This is one of the most common types of federal fraud and results in almost $2 trillion in untaxed, or unreported income every year.

Tax fraud, often referred to as tax evasion, refers to an individual or business intentionally and willfully falsifying information on a tax return to avoid paying federal income taxes. Tax fraud can come in many forms such as overestimating business expenses, underreporting income or not filing taxes altogether.

If convicted of tax fraud, you could be subject to criminal and civil penalties. The extent of the fraud will determine the penalties. Listed below are some of the penalties for federal tax fraud:

  • Willfully Failing to File, Supply Information or Pay Taxes on Time: Upon conviction, the offender could be charged with a misdemeanor that entails no more than a year of imprisonment, no more than $25,000 in fines if the crime was committed by an individual(s) or $100,000 for corporations, or both plus the cost of prosecution.
  • Evade or Defeat Paying Taxes: This is considered a felony and entails $100,000 in fine if the crime was committed by an individual(s) or $500,00 for corporations, imprisonment for no more than five years, or a combination of both plus the cost of prosecution.
  • Fraud and False Statement: This is classified as a felony and entails $100,000 in fines if the crime was committed by an individual or $500,000 for corporations, imprisonment for no more than three years, or a combination of both.

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Securities Fraud

Securities fraud is a white-collar crime that can be committed in various ways, but typically involves misinforming investors and potential investors of information used to make decisions. The offender can be an individual stockbroker or an organization such as an investment bank.

Securities fraud can include late-day trading, Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, high yield investment fraud, advance fee schemes, foreign currency fraud, hedge fund fraud, and broker embezzlement.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the governmental authority responsible for prosecuting securities fraud. The extent of the crime will determine the extent of the penalties. The crime can be punished with both civil and criminal penalties that can include the following:

  • Fines: Securities fraud can entail sizable fines. The actual amount depends on the circumstances of the case, but in some situations such as insider trading, you could be charged up to $5 million. Other forms of securities fraud can entail $10,000 or more in fines.
  • Probation: Probation is typically given in cases only involving a single instance of fraud or if the offense didn’t result in any financial loss. Probation normally lasts for only several years, while up to five years is possible.
  • Restitution: Because securities fraud involves people who have suffered monetary loss, the court may order the offender to repay the victims for their loses.
  • Incarceration: Depending on the type of securities fraud, an offender could face anywhere from 5 to 30 years behind bars.

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Health Care Fraud

Health care fraud is considered the use of deception or falsehood when filing a claim to gain some type of benefit. There is not one single type of health care fraud, but it can be committed by patients, healthcare providers and health insurers.

Common health care fraud schemes can include double-billing, faking medical conditions to receive medications, filing claims for services never provided, falsifying medical claim information or using another person’s information to receive health care service.

If you are convicted of health care fraud, you could face the following penalties under section 1347 of the United States Code:

  • Fines: Anyone convicted of health care fraud will face significant fines. Making false statements in a Medicare or Medicaid claim can entail up to $250,000 in fines per offense. If the offender is an organization, they could face $500,000 per offense.
  • Prison: Being convicted of federal health care fraud can be punishable by 10 years in prison per offense. If the fraud resulted in serious bodily injury, the offender could face up to 20 years in prison or life if the crime resulted in death.
  • Restitution: A judge may order the offender to pay back any money they improperly obtained from the fraudulent acts.
  • Probation: Probation usually only last several years, but can go on for as long as five.

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Mail/ Wire Fraud

Every day, we receive heaps of mail and numerous phone calls from people or organizations that we have never heard of. They promise us free luxury vacations or get-rich-quick schemes that sound too good to be true.

In the United States, mail and wire fraud is a crime that is defined as a fraudulent scheme to intentionally deprive someone of money, property or services via mail or wire communications. Wire communications can include by phone, radio or television.

If convicted of federal mail/ wire fraud, you could spend up to 20 years in prison and be required to pay substantial fines. If the fraud was conducted in relation to a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, or it affected a financial institution, you could face enhanced penalties that include up to $1 million in fines and up to 30 years in prison.

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Computer Fraud

Almost 90% of all households have a computer, so it comes as no surprise that computer fraud is a crime that has been on the rise. According to the United States code, computer fraud is the act of using a computer to alter or take electronic data or gain unlawful use of a computer or system.

The United States Code has multiple crimes under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that they consider computer fraud, such as:

  • Intentionally accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access to:
    • Take financial records
    • Information from any U.S department or agency
    • Information from a protected computer
    • Anything of value
    • Cause damage or loss to a protected computer
    • Threatening to cause damage, take information or demand money

Conspiring to commit or attempting to commit any of the crimes mentioned above is also punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

A famous example of computer fraud is the 2015 incident where three men stole millions of people’s data from JP and Morgan Chase & Co. The men used more than 200 fake ID documents to create a massive payment processing for criminals, an illegal Bitcoin exchange and launder money.

The penalties for federal computer fraud are steep. If found guilty, you could spend anywhere from five to life in prison, be required to pay hefty fines and forfeit any property that was used while committing the crime.

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Additional Resources for Federal Fraud in Treasure Coast, FL

Healthcare Fraud | U.S. Code Section 1347 – Follow this link to see what the federal code says about federal health care fraud. The statute defines what is considered healthcare fraud as well as penalties. The code can be read on Legal Information Institute, a legal research database provided by Cornell Law School.

Securities and Commodities Fraud | U.S. Code Section 1348 – Learn more about securities and commodities fraud on Legal Information Institute. The statue defines what is considered securities fraud and acts that govern them.

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Lawyer for Federal Fraud in Treasure Coast, FL

If you are being investigated for federal fraud, you will need the guidance of an attorney experienced in federal court. Attorneys with Meltzer & Bell are experienced with federal fraud and will strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

Call Meltzer & Bell today or submit your information in the online form to set up a free case consultation. We represent clients in counties along the Treasure Coast that include Martin and Saint Lucie.

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