Specific Types of False Statement Crimes
One of the more common situations involving false statements is when false or misleading statements are made to federal agents during an interview or interrogation. Keep in mind that you do not need to be the target of an investigation to be charged with making a false statement. There is no minimum threshold. Even a small misrepresentation can result in a federal charge.
There are a variety of other types of false statement crimes. For example, you could make a misstatement at a grand jury hearing. Outside of the judicial realm, a false statement charge may be filed if you misstate information on a mortgage or loan application. The prosecution will need to prove that you intended to defraud a financial institution in these cases. Likewise, lying to an insurance company could lead to a federal charge. Both mortgage fraud and insurance fraud are types of white-collar crimes.
These are only some examples of making false statements. All charges relate to intentionally spreading information that is known to be false or to be a misrepresentation. More specifically, the prosecution carries the burden of proof to show that the statement was materially false, that the individual knew that the information was not accurate and that the statement affected the federal government.
Penalties for Making a False Statement
In many cases, an individual who is charged with making a false statement may be facing one or several other charges. However, a false statement offense is a stand-alone crime with its own penalties. A conviction for making a false statement may yield a penalty of between five and eight years in prison. This may be tacked onto any other penalties for related charges. Commonly, false statements are associated with embezzlement, money laundering, fraud and other similar white-collar crimes. Some of these crimes individually may result in an independent penalty of a decade or longer in prison.
Potential Defense Strategies for a False Statement Charge
The unfortunate reality is that you may face a charge of making a false statement regardless of whether or not you actually intended to do so. Your attorney’s job is to present a solid defense that challenges the evidence against you and that creates reasonable doubt. There are a variety of defense strategies that your lawyer may use, and the specific strategies applied will depend on the circumstances of the case.
For example, your attorney may argue that you did not intentionally make a false statement, that the statement was immaterial or that you did not intend to defraud the federal government. Your attorney could also argue the interrogation has conducted illegally, that you were under duress at the time the statement was made or that the statement does not affect the government. Other possible defenses include failing to meet the burden of proof, being falsely identified and being falsely accused.
When to Hire a Defense Attorney
Any time you are questioned by federal authorities, it is in your best interest to have an attorney present. Keep in mind, however, that a federal offense can occur when the misstatement is made in writing as well. With this in mind, it is important to always be truthful to the government’s various agencies and agents. If the situation in question has already occurred and you have recently been charged with a federal crime, now is the time to request a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. When your lawyer is involved in the case early on, he or she may be effective at getting charges dropped or reduced. In addition, involving your lawyer as soon as possible ensures that he or she has ample time to prepare a defense.
Request a Legal Consultation
The laws surrounding federal misstatement offenses are broad and far-reaching, but there are several effective defense tactics that your lawyer may use. Regardless of the nature of the charges, you could potentially spend several years or longer in prison if you are convicted. Because of this, it is important to hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney who has experience with false statement cases. Contact the team at Spodek Law Group today to request a complimentary legal consultation.