Federal Crimes

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Federal Crimes Legal Defense

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The prosecution of federal fraud charges could result in harsh punishments, including fines and imprisonment, depending on the severity of the charges. Federal prosecutors take fraud seriously, which means if you are accused of a federal fraud charge, you need to speak with an experienced California attorney immediately.

You need an attorney with experience in criminal defense who can help you understand your legal rights and defend you against these charges. Our founding attorney, Mariya Melkonyan, can work on your behalf to ensure all defenses are explored thoroughly to achieve the best outcome for your case.

Table of Contents

    Prosecution For a Federal Crimes Cases

    Federal crimes are offenses that violate U.S. federal laws. These crimes are prosecuted by United States government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    The case will move through the federal court system instead of through state court. If charged with a federal crime, you will face a federal judge and be prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney. If convicted, you will be under the authority of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and serve any sentence in a federal facility.

    Sentencing for Federal Fraud Crimes

    If you’re convicted of federal crimes, you’ll face tough penalties. Common federal fraud crimes have harsh sentences of up to 30 years in prison, and you may face fines of up to $1,000,000 for each fraud charge.

    Common federal fraud charges are:

    • Bank Fraud
    • Wire Fraud
    • False Statements to Financial Institutions
    • Conspiracy to Commit Fraud

    Wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements each come with up to 30 years and $1,000,000 in fines per offense. If you’re charged with more than one count, you’ll face additional jail time and fines.

    If you are convicted of conspiracy charges, you’re sentenced as if you committed the crime. For example, you will be sentenced using the bank fraud guidelines if you’re found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. You don’t have to commit the crime of bank fraud to be convicted of conspiracy.

    Paycheck Protection Program and Small Business Administration Loan Fraud

    Federal loan fraud cases are a perfect example of federal crimes. Fraud occurs when a person makes false statements to obtain a loan through a federal agency or any other federally insured financial institution.

    False statements include:

    • Falsifying payroll documentation
    • Creating fake tax documents
    • Using stolen identities to apply
    • Falsely claiming to be the business owner

    Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

    The PPP was established during the COVID-19 crisis to help businesses meet payroll demands and protect their employees. Government-backed loans were issued through SBA-approved lenders to small businesses.

    Small Business Association Loans

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides loans and other services to small businesses throughout the United States. Usually, the SBA does not lend money directly; they work with local banks and institutions to make it easier for lenders to access loans.

    During times of crisis, the SBA provides direct funding through loans and grants to small businesses. The SBA investigates fraud through their Office of the Inspector General.

    Fraudulently obtaining federal loans from the Small Business Administration or through the Paycheck Protection Program is considered a federal crime. You may be charged with a combination of federal crimes, including bank fraud, wire fraud, making false statements to financial institutions, or conspiracy to commit fraud.

    If you’re convicted of a federal loan fraud charge, you will face time in federal prison and be forced to pay steep fines. You can be imprisoned for up to 30 years and face fines up to $1,000,000 or a combination of the two for such federal crimes cases.

    Healthcare Fraud

    You could be charged with criminal health care fraud under the U.S. Code 1347 if you knowingly and deliberately carry out, or try to carry out, a scheme to defraud any healthcare program, including Medicare and Medicaid. Falsifying bills to submit to Medicare and overbilling a patient for healthcare services are all considered healthcare fraud.

    Other healthcare fraud offenses that can be brought forward against you can include:

    Anti-Kickback Statute

    It is illegal for the defendant to purposefully give or receive anything of value for a referral from Medicare or Medicaid.

    False Claims Act

    The defendant intentionally and willfully took steps to get paid for false or fraudulent claims. The government can also file a civil lawsuit and permit private citizens or whistleblowers to sue on the government’s behalf.

    Stark Law – Physician Self-Referral Law

    Self-referral offenses require proof that the defendant referred to themselves and an entity they have a financial relationship with and filed it through the latter’s services resulting from said referral. The financial relationship covers direct or indirect ownership of investments and immediate family financial involvement. Even unintentional violations might result in severe civil fines for a medical practitioner.

    ATM Fraud

    Penalties for ATM Fraud can vary based on whether you are charged at the state or federal level and the specific crimes you are charged with. You may be charged with:


    The crime of larceny is usually treated as a state offense. According to California’s PC 502.6, people who use a scanning device to access a payment card may face county jail time of up to one year and/or a fine of $1,000.

    If you use the information from the credit/debit card from an ATM skimmer, you may face prosecution under a slew of California credit card and debit card fraud crimes, including publishing credit card information and fraudulent use of a credit card.

    Identity Theft

    The act of using illegally obtained identifying papers or information is a crime under 18 U.S. Code Section 1028. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, report it immediately and learn how to protect your information.

    Wire Fraud

    It is illegal to carry out any scheme of fraud or deception that involves the use of wire, radio, or television transmissions, according to 18 U.S. Code Section 1343.

    Bank Fraud

    A plan or deception intended to gain money from a financial institution is punishable under U.S. Code 1344. Bank fraud also falls under the federal crimes category.

    Tax Fraud/Evasion

    A person or business that intentionally provides false information on their tax return to lower the amount of taxes they owe is committing tax fraud. This includes:

    • Not reporting all income
    • Using a false social security number
    • Deducting personal expenses as business expenses
    • Claiming other false deductions

    Tax evasion and avoiding payment are other forms of tax fraud; which are all federal crimes. Falsifying or leaving out information in your taxes is illegal and also falls under the category of federal crimes. If you commit this crime the IRS helps federal prosecutors bring charges and you’ll face penalties under 26 U.S. Code § 7201 of up to $500,000 and up to 5 years in federal prison.

    Money Laundering

    To be charged with money laundering under 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1), you must be aware that you are conducting or attempting to conduct a transaction in which the involved property results from illegal activity. The defendant must have acted with one of four specific intents:

    • Intent to carry on unlawful activity
    • Intent to engage in tax fraud or evasion
    • Awareness that transaction was intended to conceal the source of unlawful proceeds
    • Designing a transaction with the intent to avoid financial reporting required by Federal or State law

    Money laundering prosecuted as a misdemeanor can result in court fines and up to 1 year in county jail. When prosecuted as a felony, you could face up to 3 years in state prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or double the amount of money laundered, whichever is higher.

    SEC Violations

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission primarily enforces laws surrounding stock market manipulation. The SEC has the power to charge individuals with violating federal securities laws, however, these investigations are civil, not criminal. Penalties can include monetary fines, repayment of illegally obtained funds, and restrictions on an individual’s ability to work within the securities industry.

    Work with an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney

    Federal crimes charges can have a devastating impact on your professional reputation and personal life. At The Law Offices Of Mariya Melkonyan, we understand the nature of these cases, which require experience and skill to build a strong defense strategy on your behalf.

    You can rely on quality legal representation at every step of the legal process with our firm behind you. Call us today to schedule your case evaluation.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Not necessarily. The federal court system will sentence you to time in a federal prison located in the United States. You may end up in prison outside of California.

    You can be charged with conspiracy to commit fraud if you plan or attempt to commit any crime of fraud. You don’t have to commit the crime to be charged with conspiracy.

    If you’re found guilty, you will be sentenced as if you committed fraud.

    Federal agencies such as the FBI, the Secret Service, and others investigate federal criminal acts. State law enforcement agents occasionally collaborate with them for prosecutions where they have jurisdiction.

    The United States Attorney’s Office is normally tasked with prosecuting these crimes within their jurisdiction.

    If you are aware of ATM fraud practices and other illegal activities, you must exercise extra caution and not engage in behavior that could result in extra charges and fines.

    One of our federal criminal defense attorneys can advise you on the next steps on what to do when you become aware of these illegal acts.

    Federal Crimes Defense Law Firm

    Federal Crime cases can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced federal crimes defense attorney in Los Angeles for your case. At The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan, we always have our client’s best interest at heart. From the moment you contact us for a consultation, we start planning solid defenses for your case.

    Most clients feel ashamed, frustrated, and angry after being charged with a federal crime, but our legal team is here to reiterate that you, as a citizen, have basic rights, one of which is to hire an attorney. Before you speak to authorities, remember that you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Mariya Melkonyan is a former Los Angeles District Attorney who has tirelessly fought countless felonies and misdemeanors and can apply those same skill sets in your case.

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