When talking to a federal government agency such as the FBI or SEC, you must tell the truth. The federal law 18 USC 1001 makes it a crime for anyone to lie to the federal government. This means that even if you’re not under oath or not given any warning about remaining silent, you can be accused of making false statements. This doesn’t mean you are guilty. It means that you need to contact a federal defense lawyer immediately.
Have you, or a loved one been accused of making false statements to a federal government official? Contact a defense lawyer immediately. Federal prosecutors aren’t interested in proving your innocence.
What is 18 USC 1001?
Title 18, United States Code (USC) 1001 makes it unlawful to make any false statements to federal government officials. It’s important to remember that you are innocent until federal prosecutors can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. To try to prove guilty, federal prosecutors must use the statute and any evidence they have against you.
The statute has three elements that describe the crime of lying to federal government officials. The elements are separated into three parts. Each part must be proven separately to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty. These elements are:
• You acted knowingly and willfully.
• You made a fictitious, materially false or fraudulent representation or statement of fact.
• You made that fact within the jurisdiction of one of the branches of government (judicial, legislative or executive).
The 18 USC 1001 Doesn’t Require You to Directly Lie to a Government Official
According to the statute, you don’t have to directly lie to a government agency official. The law broadly allows for the misstatement of fact or lie to be told within the jurisdiction. This means you can talk to the official on the phone and be accused with this federal crime.
Material Fact in the Lie is What Makes it a Crime
The statement must be “material.” This means that the statement may influence the decision-making body to come to a different conclusion. This means that you are guilty of a crime because the statement you made was allegedly false and could have influenced the outcome of the investigation.
Federal Prosecutors Must Prove Three Elements to Prove Your Guilt
Although federal prosecutors must prove three elements to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated 18 USC 1001, there are three ways they can do this. For example, prosecutors can show that you concealed, falsified or covered a material fact.You may have covered up the false fact by using a scheme, device or trick.
The second way you can be charged with this crime is to make any fraudulent, false or fictitious representation or statement. This means you allegedly lied to the government. The last way you can be charged with the crime is based on writing a false document. It’s illegal to write or create a written document that you know contains a fraudulent, false or fictitious statement.
The Punishment for an 18 USC 1001 Conviction
The punishment for violating this statute is severe. You face five years in federal prison. It’s important to distinguish that this is not time in state prison, but federal prison.
Contact Us about Your Case
The federal government doesn’t care who it locks up for lying to a government official. After all, Martha Stewart was convicted of violating 18 USC 1001 and was sent to federal prison. We mention this because we understand how serious this charge is. That’s why we are ready to represent you in your case. We know the defenses available to you. We know how to negotiate with prosecutors. Also, we know how to present your case at trial.
Just because you’ve been charged with lying to the government doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Contact us immediately, so we can start working on your case. It’s time to put this matter behind you. Contact us today.