The Government Takes Federal Fraud Accusations Seriously and You Should Too
Federal authorities and the government treat financial crimes like fraud very seriously, and the criminal penalties connected with a federal fraud conviction may be devastating for defendants and their families.
Not only do crimes like embezzlement and mortgage fraud usually involve deception, misrepresentation, or trickery, which are all hallmarks of a fraud crime, but they also frequently involve multiple victims and can result in significant financial loss to others, making fraud a particularly heinous crime in the eyes of the law.
If you’ve been charged with embezzlement, mortgage fraud, immigration fraud, bankruptcy fraud, or other federal fraud charges, you need the best defense possible. That’s where Chambers Law Firm comes in. Call us now at 714-760-4088 to request a consultation.
Fraud Offenses That Are Frequently Charged
The term “fraud” is used in criminal law to denote the intentional deceit employed to obtain unfair or unlawful financial or personal advantage, generally at the expense of another person, organization, or institution.
From relatively basic fraud schemes like credit card fraud and postal fraud to more complicated fraud schemes like mortgage fraud and securities fraud, there are many different types of fraud crimes that can result in criminal penalties.
The fundamental aspect of a fraud violation is the scheme or artifice itself, rather than the illicit acquisition of another person’s money or property. Even if the plot to deceive is unsuccessful, a person might be found guilty of fraud under this threshold.
Fraud is illegal in most states, including California, but it is also illegal under federal law, and many of the most serious fraud acts are charged and punished in federal court. The following are some instances of federal fraud violations that can lead to criminal prosecution.
Federal Charges of Embezzlement
Embezzlement is a crime committed when a person entrusted with the care or management of another person’s money or property uses it for personal benefit with the aim of depriving the owner of its usage. The individual accused of embezzlement must have had access to the money or property in question, but not possession of it, in order to commit the offense.
Federal Charges of Fraudulent Immigration
Immigration fraud is a form of deception perpetrated with the intent of evading U.S. immigration rules. Marriage fraud, immigration services fraud, document fraud, benefits fraud, and identity fraud are only some of the forms of immigration fraud that can lead to federal prosecution.
Federal Charges of Fraudulent Bankruptcy
Any sort of fraudulent or criminal action involving a Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding is referred to as bankruptcy fraud. This includes filing a bankruptcy petition or any document in a bankruptcy petition as part of an intentional conspiracy to deceive creditors, or making false claims, false promises, or fraudulent representations in any element of a bankruptcy case.
Federal Charges of Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud refers to any circumstance in which a person or organization fraudulently obtains a loan or obtains a larger loan than would otherwise be accessible to the borrower by providing erroneous or misleading information on mortgage paperwork. Although mortgage fraud is not a federal felony in and of itself, it can be prosecuted under federal statutes dealing with wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy, and other forms of fraud.
Federal Fraud Offenses and the Criminal Penalties
Fraud, in any form, is a severe criminal offense, and anybody accused of perpetrating fraud against the government, a financial institution, or in direct violation of federal law will face a thorough investigation by the FBI and other federal authorities.
In federal court, fraud charges involving a large sum of money or numerous putative victims are usually prosecuted. The federal government has the capacity and jurisdiction to enforce fraud statutes such as mortgage fraud and bankruptcy fraud, and if the government has cause to suspect you committed a federal fraud crime, you will almost certainly be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
If you are convicted of fraud in federal court, you will almost certainly face serious criminal penalties, such as a lengthy prison term, substantial fines, asset forfeiture, and other negative repercussions. For example:
- If you are convicted of bankruptcy fraud, you may face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000, plus your bankruptcy case could be dismissed and your debts not erased.
- You could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and fined up to $1 million for federal embezzlement, depending on the nature of the charge, the type and value of the property you are accused of embezzling, whether you were in a position of trust at the time the alleged embezzlement was committed, and your criminal history.
Defendants suspected of fraud may face prosecution for several illegal activities depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. If you’re participating in a bankruptcy fraud plan, for example, you might be charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, and/or tax fraud as well, which could result in a much harsher sentence if you’re convicted.
Enhancements in Sentencing for Federal Fraud Crimes
There are several factors that, if present in a fraud case, might result in a more severe punishment if the defendant is found guilty. Sentence enhancements are the term for these instances. The suggested term connected with a conviction would be enhanced if the fraud included 10 or more victims, caused “substantial financial hardship” to one or more victims, or was perpetrated through mass-marketing.
We Can Help Defend You Against Federal Fraud Charges
Although the precise components of federal crimes vary per charge, every federal crime has basic aspects that constitute the crime, and the government must be able to show each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict a defendant.
The factors that must be present in order for the prosecution to get a conviction vary by kind of fraud violation, although the basic components of a fraud offense are typically the same from case to case. For example, in the United States, federal fraud legislation usually requires proof of a “scheme or artifice” to defraud or deprive another person of money or something else of value by the intentional misrepresentation of a significant fact that the accused offender knows to be untrue.
It’s easy to feel like the odds are stacked against you while facing fraud accusations in federal court, but bear in mind that just because you’ve been accused of fraud doesn’t guarantee you’ll be found guilty. A skilled federal criminal defense attorney may utilize a variety of defense techniques to provide a solid defense against federal fraud accusations, which is why hiring an attorney to defend you in your criminal case is so crucial.
Contact Chambers Law Firm now at 714-760-4088 to request a consultation.
Work with a Resourceful and Passionate Attorney to Fight Charges of Federal Insurance Fraud or Medical Billing Fraud
Compliance with all relevant billing standards may be a continual challenge for healthcare providers that rely on benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. There are several variables that might make remaining compliant at all times exceedingly challenging, ranging from unclear regulations to staff changes and business relationships with other parties.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to remain compliant. Billing breaches can have serious implications for physicians, pharmacists, hospice operators, and other healthcare providers. Accusations of billing fraud can have a wide range of consequences, ranging from civil monetary fines and program exclusion to loss of licensure and even federal incarceration.
Providers throughout the country are facing probes or worse as healthcare fraud enforcement remains a major law enforcement goal. Many people are seeing the consequences of failing to properly fight against billing fraud claims firsthand. If you are in this position, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for help.
Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare investigations: common billing fraud allegations
Billing fraud is a wide phrase that refers to a variety of breaches concerning payment claims filed by healthcare providers to Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and other benefit programs. Although federal officials can pursue billing fraud allegations under a number of legislations, the majority of these breaches are pursued as civil or criminal offenses under the False Claims Act.
The Anti-Kickback Statute (which applies to all healthcare professionals) and the Stark Law (which applies to billings that include remuneration for physician “self-referrals”) are examples of this. The following are some of the most typical charges made during billing fraud investigations under these statutes:
- Billing for Kickbacks and Referral Fees. It is unlawful for healthcare practitioners, pharmaceutical firms, durable medical equipment (DME) businesses, and other program participants to seek reimbursement for kickbacks and referral fees.
- Medically Unnecessary Treatments. Federal healthcare benefit programs are designed to assist pay for medically essential services, medicines, and medical equipment. It is considered a type of fraud to bill for medically unnecessary services or materials. This includes charging for treatments performed on the wrong site and for the incorrect level of service.
- Billing for Non-Allowable Costs. Some expenses are reimbursable, while others are not. In federal billing fraud investigations, reporting non-allowable expenditures is a typical accusation.
- Charging for Treatments, Drugs, or Equipment Not Supplied. In addition to prosecuting clinicians who bill for needless services, federal authorities are pursuing providers who are suspected of billing for services, medications, or medical equipment that were not provided to patients.
- Unlicensed or Excluded Services. Medical services performed by unlicensed people are typically ineligible for payment under the program. The same is true for services supplied by persons and businesses that were previously barred from participating in the program.
- Multiple Reimbursement Requests. When made for the same service, medicine, or medical equipment, either to a single benefit program or to a benefit program and a private healthcare insurer.
- Failure to Comply with Payment Conditions or Secondary Payer Rules. All participants in healthcare programs are subject to a range of eligibility requirements. Violations of eligibility requirements may result in a requirement to report and return program overpayments.
- Unbundling Services. Many services are required to be “bundled” under healthcare program billing requirements in order to be reimbursed at a specified (and generally lower) rate. Unbundling services so that they can be billed separately is a violation that can result in recoupments, fines, and other penalties.
- Up–Coding. Utilizing erroneous billing codes to achieve greater reimbursement rates than those allowed by the appropriate program billing laws.
- Using an Incorrect Billing Code. Using the incorrect billing code, while frequently done accidentally, is a strategy that some entities utilize to illegally collect unearned reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare.
If you have been accused of these or other insurance fraud or medical billing charges, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free consultation.