24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

The Role of Counsel After Receipt of Target Letter in Health Care Fraud Cases

How Target Letters Lead to Federal Conspiracy Charges: Investigation Insights

A target letter from federal investigators is never something you want to receive. This letter lets you know that you are under criminal investigation and could soon face federal charges. Recent reports indicate former president Donald Trump received one of these ominous letters from the special counsel investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol. While the details remain secret, sources say the letter references three federal statutes related to conspiracy. This suggests prosecutors may be building a conspiracy case against Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Conspiracy charges allow prosecutors to go after groups of people who agree to engage in illegal activity together. Let’s break down how these complex laws work and what a target letter might mean for someone in Trump’s position.

The Basics of Federal Conspiracy Law

Most federal crimes require prosecutors to prove that the defendant completed all the elements of a specific offense. But with conspiracy charges, you can face punishment just for agreeing to commit a future crime with others – even if you never follow through. Section 371 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it illegal to “conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States.” This gives federal prosecutors a powerful tool to go after complex criminal enterprises and schemes involving multiple people.

To prove a 371 conspiracy, prosecutors need to show three key elements:

  1. The defendant agreed with at least one other person to achieve an illegal objective.
  2. The defendant knowingly joined the conspiracy intending to help advance or facilitate the criminal scheme.
  3. At least one of the conspirators took an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.

These elements cast a wide net for prosecutors. You can face conspiracy charges for joining an agreement to commit any federal crime – whether it’s fraud, bribery, money laundering, racketeering, or terrorism. And you don’t need to play a lead role in the scheme or even know all the details. Just intentionally joining the criminal agreement is enough.

How Target Letters Fit In

Federal agents typically start building conspiracy cases by pressuring low-level conspirators to provide evidence against the bigger fish. A target letter is one of the tools investigators use to apply this pressure. This letter informs you that you’re under criminal investigation and could be indicted. It usually means prosecutors have already gathered evidence against you and believe they have a strong case.

Receiving a target letter doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be indicted. But it does suggest a reckoning is coming soon. You’ll need to make some big decisions about whether to challenge the charges or cooperate with investigators against your co-conspirators. Most defendants see the letter as a wake-up call to get a criminal defense lawyer immediately.

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
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
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.

For Trump, news of his target letter broke in July 2022. This suggests the Justice Department investigation into the January 6th insurrection has advanced significantly. Prosecutors seem to be locking in on Trump’s role in the efforts to overturn the election. And the conspiracy statutes referenced in the letter provide clues about the possible charges they are exploring.

The Conspiracy Statutes in Trump’s Letter

While the details remain secret, sources cited three federal laws mentioned in Trump’s target letter:

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 371 – The general conspiracy statute discussed above.
  2. 18 U.S.C. § 1512 – Tampering with a witness, victim, or informant.
  3. 18 U.S.C. § 1001 – Making false statements to the federal government.

Section 1512 covers trying to improperly influence or obstruct any official proceeding, such as Congress certifying the electoral college vote. Section 1001 relates to lying to federal agents or in other sworn statements. The combination suggests prosecutors are examining whether Trump illegally conspired with others to interfere in the election certification and then covered it up.

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States

One charging option for prosecutors is alleging Trump conspired to defraud the U.S. government under the broad language of Section 371. Courts have held that “defraud” in this statute covers impairing the lawful functions and operations of the federal government. It does not just mean conspiracy to steal money or property.

For Trump, this could include agreeing with others to spread false information about election fraud in order to obstruct Congress from certifying the results. Or making other efforts to unlawfully impede the transfer of presidential power. The jury instructions for such a charge would require finding Trump joined an agreement to obstruct a lawful government function through deceit, craft, or trickery.

Conspiracy to Commit an Offense

Another option is alleging Trump conspired to commit more specific offenses against the U.S. Based on the other statutes cited in the target letter, this could include:

  • Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding (Congress’ certification of the election) in violation of Section 1512.
  • Conspiracy to make false statements to the federal government under Section 1001.

The elements prosecutors would need to prove are similar to a general conspiracy under Section 371. But they would also need to establish Trump agreed to commit the additional specific offenses. Each of these conspiracy charges carries up to 5 years in prison. And they could be brought together as part of an overarching conspiracy case.

Proving Agreement and Intent

While conspiracy charges are broad, prosecutors still need to prove intent. They can’t just show people associated with each other or were involved in similar activities. For Trump, they would need evidence he intentionally joined agreements with allies to unlawfully influence the election outcome and certification.

Proving intent often depends on testimony from co-conspirators who have flipped or inside communications discussing the schemes. Trump’s public statements alone advocating for overturning the election may not be enough. Prosecutors likely need witnesses or documents showing behind-the-scenes coordination and planning with key players like advisors, lawyers, and extremist groups.

Overt Acts in Furtherance of the Conspiracy

In addition to the agreement itself, prosecutors must identify at least one overt act that a conspirator took to advance the scheme. These can include minor steps like a phone call, text message, or travel. When it comes to Trump, there is certainly no shortage of potential overt acts to choose from.

Obvious options include his January 6th speech right before the Capitol riot, pressuring state officials to overturn election results, orchestrating slates of fake electors, or instructing advisors to look for ways to seize voting machines. The overt act does not need to be illegal itself. It just has to be a concrete step that knowingly furthers the goals of the broader conspiracy.

Conspiracy Charges Allow Casting a Wide Net

The breadth of conspiracy charges makes them a powerful weapon for prosecutors. They allow going after the leaders who orchestrate complex schemes by targeting many underlings and pressuring them to flip. Even if a conspiracy is unsuccessful in achieving its goals, the agreement itself is the crime. You can face punishment just for joining it.

In Trump’s case, prosecutors seem to be methodically putting the pieces in place to build a conspiracy case related to the January 6th insurrection. The statutes cited in his target letter provide a roadmap of the charges they are exploring. And additional co-conspirators could find themselves in the crosshairs as the investigation advances.

Receiving a target letter means Trump will soon need to make fateful decisions about how to respond. Challenging federal conspiracy charges is extremely difficult even for well-resourced defendants like Trump. Prosecutors win at trial more than 90% of the time. The stakes could not be higher for Trump both legally and politically. Any federal felony convictions could also disqualify him from holding office again.

For anyone else receiving a target letter, the most prudent legal advice is usually to explore negotiating a plea deal rather than facing conspiracy charges at trial. These complex cases can be extremely challenging to defend against. And a conviction often means a lengthy prison sentence. But for Trump, the calculation may be different given his political ambitions and the high-profile nature of the investigation.

Regardless of the outcome, the Justice Department’s progress reveals they are taking an aggressive approach to the January 6th probe. Other co-conspirators should also take notice that their own reckoning day may be coming soon. Conspiracy charges cast a wide net and prosecutors are clearly trying to work their way up the chain of responsibility. Anyone involved in efforts to overturn the election is likely now pondering their own legal exposure and making difficult choices about the road ahead.


Schedule Your Consultation Now