FEDERAL ECONOMIC CRIMES
Federal economic crimes consist of numerous crimes, but commonly charged offenses are embezzlement, theft/larceny, fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering. Embezzlement and theft offenders consistently account for around one-quarter of all federal economic crimes. In addition, financial institution fraud and government benefits fraud have also been among the top five most prevalent types of economic crimes charged in federal court.
Federal economic crimes cases are typically extremely complicated. However, if you face a fraud crime in a United States District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s office, which works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and many other federal law enforcement agencies, has unlimited resources to investigate and pursue a conviction. Call the Border Defense Network now for a free consultation.
Covid Related Fraud
Fraud prosecutions have been rapidly increasing with the passage of the $2.2 trillion economic relief bill known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which was designed to provide emergency funds to individuals and businesses. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has provided significant resources and to investigate and prosecute fraud in 3 very popular programs:
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud
Prominent among the department’s efforts have been cases brought by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section involving over 120 defendants charged with PPP fraud to date. The cases involve a range of conduct, from individual business owners who have inflated their payroll expenses, to serial fraudsters who revived dormant corporations and purchased shell companies with no actual operations to apply for multiple loans.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) fraud
The DOJ has also focused on fraud against the EIDL program, which was designed to provide loans to small businesses, agricultural and non-profit entities. Defendants have been charged for targeting the program by applying for EIDL advances and loans on behalf of ineligible newly-created, shell, or non-existent businesses, and diverting the funds for illegal purposes.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $860 billion in federal funds has been appropriated for UI benefits through September 2021. International organized criminal groups have targeted these funds by using stolen identities to file for UI benefits. Domestic fraudsters, ranging from identity thieves to prison inmates, have also committed UI fraud. In response, the department established the National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force, a prosecutor-led multi-agency task force with representatives from more than eight different federal law enforcement agencies.
By the first quarter of 2021, the Department of Justice has prosecuted close to 500 defendants with criminal offenses based on fraud schemes connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases involve attempts to obtain over $569 million from the U.S. government and unsuspecting individuals through fraud, and have been brought in 56 federal districts around the country.
Embezzlement-Theft, Fraud, And White Collar Crimes
18 U.S.C. § 641 | Embezzlement and Theft
Federal embezzlement laws target theft from the federal government. This includes theft of property that is owned by a private entity but paid for by the government.
Federal embezzlement laws are broken down by the type of money or property stolen.
- § 641 makes embezzlement of anything of value owned by the U.S. government and worth more than $1,000, punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison and maximum fines of $250,000 or up to the amount stolen-whichever is greater.
18 U.S.C. § 1341 | Definition of Frauds and Swindles
18 U.S.C. § 1341 defines fraud as any intentional deception or misrepresentation used to benefit yourself or someone else. The federal government, through its prosecutors in the United States Attorneys’ Office, penalizes various kinds of fraud specifically identified under federal laws. These laws identify specific types of fraud crimes, each of which has specific penalties associated with them.
18 U.S.C. 1341 defines mail fraud as anyone who uses the U.S. mail or any interstate delivery service in an attempt to engage in fraud. One of the most frequently prosecuted federal laws, mail fraud is often charged by federal prosecutors because it can apply in so many situations, and because it can apply to almost anyone who commits a crime using the U.S. Post Office or any interstate delivery service. The maximum sentence under 18 U.S.C. 1341 is 20 years in Federal prison.
Mail Fraud and Racketeering
Someone charged with mail fraud runs the risk not only of a felony conviction for that offense, with a significant fine and prison time, but a charge of racketeering as well. If the defendant acted in concert with anyone else, the prosecution can also bring charges under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). A RICO conviction exposes the defendant to significantly more punishment in fines and incarceration.
18 U.S.C. § 1343 | Wire Fraud
The federal crime of wire fraud occurs when someone voluntarily and intentionally uses an interstate communications device, including the internet, as a part of any scheme to defraud another of property or anything else of value.
Because of the broad nature of these laws, mail fraud and wire fraud are commonly charged in a wide range of cases. For example, someone who pays a bribe or kickback typically uses the phone, email, or letter at some point in the process. Because of this, federal prosecutors can charge the person with wire fraud or mail fraud in addition to bribery, corruption, or any other charges that may apply. The maximum sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 is 20 years in federal prison.
18 U.S. Code § 1344 | Bank Fraud
Bank fraud involves a scheme to knowingly defraud a bank through the use of false pretenses, representations, or promises. This section covers a broad range of criminal activities, from forging bank checks to providing false information on mortgage or loan applications. A conviction carries up to a 30-year sentence and $1,000,000 in fines.
18 U.S.C. § 1347 | Healthcare Fraud
Health care fraud is a crime in which someone uses lies, deceptions, or falsehoods when filing a health care claim in an effort to make a profit or to gain some type of benefit. There is no single type of health care fraud, and health care providers, patients, and even health insurers can commit this crime. Health care fraud is a crime addressed by both California state and federal law, and is a crime that has significant potential penalties. A federal conviction under this section carries up to 10 years in prison.