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Philadelphia Federal Perjury Charges: Lying to Federal Agents, Grand Jury, Court

Philadelphia Federal Perjury Charges: Lying to Federal Agents, Grand Jury, Court

Being charged with perjury in federal court is extremely serious. Perjury refers to the crime of lying under oath, either in written form or verbally. In the federal system, perjury charges typically arise when an individual has lied to federal agents, a grand jury, or directly to a judge or in a federal court proceeding. The consequences for a federal perjury conviction can be severe, including substantial fines and years in federal prison. Understanding how federal perjury charges work in Philadelphia is critical to mounting an effective defense.

Federal perjury laws in Philadelphia make it a felony to knowingly make false statements about material facts while under oath. The government only needs to prove that the defendant knew their statements were untrue when they made them. Federal perjury involves an intent to mislead rather than simply being mistaken. Lying to federal agents, a grand jury, or in court proceedings can all lead to perjury charges. Some examples include:

  • Lying on an affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury
  • Lying during testimony before a grand jury or judge
  • Lying during a deposition or other sworn statement
  • Lying on government forms under penalty of perjury
  • Lying to FBI agents or other federal investigators

Perjury charges require that the false statements be “material” to the proceedings. This means that the lies must be related to information that could have impacted the investigation or case. Even minor lies under oath can trigger charges if they are material. And inconsistent statements can be used as evidence of perjury.

Penalties for Federal Perjury Convictions in Philadelphia

The maximum penalties for federal perjury in Philadelphia depend on the nature of the proceedings involved:

  • Perjury in court proceedings – Up to 5 years in prison
  • Perjury in grand jury proceedings – Up to 5 years in prison
  • Perjury in other proceedings – Up to 5 years in prison

In addition to imprisonment, federal perjury convictions often carry fines up to $250,000. Immigrants may also face deportation. The actual sentence imposed will depend on the specific circumstances and a defendant’s criminal history. But federal judges have wide discretion when it comes to sentencing and can impose up to the statutory maximums.

Defenses to Federal Perjury Charges

Despite the serious penalties, viable defenses to federal perjury charges do exist in many cases. Some potential defenses include:

  • Lack of intent – The government must prove the defendant knew their statements were false. Mistakenly providing incorrect information is not perjury.
  • No materiality – If the alleged false statements did not relate to a material issue, perjury charges may be defeated.
  • Confusion – Perjury requires willful intent to provide false information. Confusion may negate intent.
  • Coercion – If the defendant was coerced into providing false testimony, perjury charges can potentially be avoided.

Raising reasonable doubt about the government’s ability to prove intent, materiality or other elements of perjury can lead to dismissal of charges or acquittal at trial.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
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Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
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divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

The Perjury Process in Philadelphia Federal Court

Perjury investigations in Philadelphia usually begin when federal agents suspect that a witness, defendant or other party has lied under oath. The agents will gather evidence to try to prove the elements of perjury, such as transcripts, documents and witness statements. If the U.S. Attorney’s Office feels the evidence is strong enough, they will seek an indictment from a federal grand jury.

After indictment, the court process proceeds like any federal criminal case. The defendant will be arraigned and have the chance to plead guilty or go to trial. Perjury cases often come down to the jury believing the defendant’s word versus the testimony of federal agents. An experienced Philadelphia federal criminal defense lawyer can analyze the government’s evidence and build an aggressive defense.

Given the severe consequences, it is critical to take any federal perjury investigation seriously from the outset. Hiring a lawyer quickly allows you to decide whether to cooperate with investigators or assert your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Your lawyer can also negotiate with the prosecution before charges are filed in appropriate cases.

If you have been contacted by federal agents regarding possible false statements or are under investigation for perjury, you need expert legal representation. Do not wait to get help. An accomplished federal criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and future.

Why Federal Perjury Charges Are Common in Philadelphia

Federal perjury indictments occur frequently in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for several reasons:

  • Philadelphia is home to a major U.S. Attorney’s Office that aggressively prosecutes white collar crime.
  • Numerous federal agencies like the FBI and DEA have a strong presence in the region.
  • Philadelphia’s proximity to Washington D.C. leads to more political corruption cases involving perjury.
  • The Eastern District of Pennsylvania has a large caseload of drug, gun, fraud, public corruption, and other federal cases.

Cooperation agreements with prosecutors also commonly require witnesses to testify before the grand jury. Witnesses sometimes end up indicted for perjury instead of receiving leniency. Due to these factors, lying to federal agents or the grand jury is charged frequently in Philadelphia.

Notable Philadelphia Federal Perjury Cases

Some recent noteworthy federal perjury prosecutions in Philadelphia include:

  • U.S. v. Fattah – A congressman was convicted of perjury relating to a bribery scheme.
  • U.S. v. Spanier – A former Penn State president was convicted of perjury in the Sandusky scandal.
  • U.S. v. Werdann – The former head of the Philadelphia Traffic Court was convicted of perjury.
  • U.S. v. Kemp – A DEA agent was charged with perjury relating to drug evidence.

These cases highlight how seriously perjury charges are taken in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The convictions also show how difficult beating federal perjury allegations can be without an aggressive legal strategy.

Finding the Best Philadelphia Perjury Defense Lawyer

The stakes are extremely high in federal perjury cases, so choosing the right defense lawyer is crucial. Look for an attorney with extensive experience in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and a proven track record with perjury and false statement charges. A skilled federal criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate the prosecution’s evidence and build the strongest defense possible. They will also negotiate aggressively with the prosecution and be prepared to take your case to trial if necessary. Don’t leave your future to chance – get the experienced federal perjury defense representation you deserve.


Federal perjury indictments need to be taken seriously. But viable defenses are often available with an experienced Philadelphia federal criminal defense attorney. The penalties for conviction are harsh, so consulting with a lawyer immediately if you are being investigated is critical. An effective advocate can protect your rights, avoid charges if possible, or win dismissal of the case. Don’t wait to get experienced legal help when facing federal perjury allegations in Philadelphia.


United States v. Dunnigan 507 U.S. 87 (1993)

United States v. Gaudin 515 U.S. 506 (1995)

United States v. Sherman 455 F.3d 248 (3d Cir. 2006)

United States v. Sarwari 655 F.3d 701 (7th Cir. 2011)





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