Defending Against the Mail and Wire Fraud Against the Federal Government Can be Tricky Business. Learn About the Risks If You are Subject to an Investigation.
When it comes to mail fraud in a federal procurement contract, criminal actions and wire fraud against the federal government, criminal prosecution of contractors, corporations, and employees have drastically increased over the last five years.
There have been many cases involving federal wire fraud penalties, where companies or individuals could have probably achieved a more favorable result but because criminal or federal wire fraud defense attorneys may not have been up to speed on the details of the federal procurement process, there may have been a missed opportunity.
Corporations, individuals, and federal contractors charged with wire fraud or mail fraud while pursuing a federal government contract must immediately understand how federal prosecutors structure their cases. In addition, developing a strong defense by decomposing the government’s case as it relates to procurement laws is usually the splitting difference why defendants lose in federal wire fraud and mail fraud cases involving federal government contracts.
Something as innocent as submitting a claim for payment can turn ugly and can lead to criminal prosecution and government procurement fraud litigation. By submitting your claim through electronic channels or sending proposals etc. through U.S. Mail, federal prosecutors now have an open door to further move forward with your case.
- Although common federal wire fraud penalty cases start with just a submission of an invoice for payment, if there are underlying substantive allegations that the government can prove, then each invoice can become a separate count towards wire fraud.
- Likewise when an investigative agency makes the case for criminal liability, then by using fax machines or the internet to either get approved in a small business program or transmit an invoice or proposal for award, you can expose yourself to wire fraud violations and criminal sanctions.
Government contracting agencies and law enforcement sometimes use the threat of criminal prosecution to get civil settlements or contract disputes. Read more about the crackdown on procurement fraud here.
18 USC 1343 and 1349 Legal Analysis
Under 18 USC 1343 and 1349 Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. Law enforcement agencies and their investigators conduct investigations and piece together evidence to then decide whether to bring charges. The analysis requires the government to first find a violation of an underlying statute ( Buy American Act or SBA small business regulation). Afterward, statutes such as the False Claims Act provide the pathway to collect damages and impose jail time or sanctions against the contractor. See How to Minimize Criminal Liability in Government Contract Fraud.
Corporate businesses and contractors with Qui Tam/whistleblower actions can face harsh criminal government procurement fraud sanctions for violating mail fraud laws and wire fraud statutes and white-collar crime if they are found to have used the United States Mail, private carriers such as UPS or FED EX, or wire communications such as fax machines, telephones, or email to develop or further a scheme to defraud the government. When the government builds the underlying case against you, the fact that your company used various means of communication to submit bids, and communicate to the government triggers wire fraud allegations and prosecution.
Government Burden of Proof for the Mail and Federal Wire Fraud Statute Definition?
The establish mail fraud and a federal wire fraud penalty against the federal government, the U.S. Attorney has to prove:
- Formation of a scheme or artifice to defraud, and
- Use of mail or interstate wire transmission in furtherance of that scheme.
If you are a defendant in whistleblower allegations of mail crimes and wire fraud against the federal government, understand that intra-corporate mailings and emails can be sufficient for purposes of a mail fraud conviction. See information about SDVOSB fraud representation. Making sure that you have federal wire fraud defense lawyers and mail fraud attorneys that understand the process and procurement regulations can be a great advantage when defending your company.
Federal Wire Fraud Penalty
This level of a white-collar crime case can bring mail or wire fraud penalty charges in multiple ways for violating mail and wire fraud statutes:
Wire fraud charges that result from whistleblower cases can include paying fines and incarceration for not more than 20 years.
- If you are convicted of wire fraud against the federal government, for a single act, you be looking at fines and up to 20 years of prison time.
- If the wire fraud impacts a financial institution or is connected to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, there can be potential fines of up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in prison
Federal Mail Fraud Penalty
Mail fraud is a felony and can impose jail time of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000 when individuals are involved and up to 30 years in prison and/or $1,000,000 in fines when a financial institution is involved. See Avoiding the Pathway on Government Contract Fraud Cases.
If the government proves an intent to defraud, it can also get a temporary or permanent injunction from the court to cease the alleged fraud.
Allowing the case to get too far gone can put them at a significant disadvantage. Mail and wire fraud white collar crime can affect many business relationships including Medicare government contracts, construction contracts with the federal government, SBA 8a fraud and more.
What is Major Fraud Against the United States?
Many federal government contracts, especially construction contracts involve award amounts of over $1 million. In addition to the underlying crime, the prosecutor tends to add a major fraud count in criminal cases. The main statute relied upon for government program fraud is 18 USC 1031- Major Fraud against the United States. The reference to the law in federal indictments in criminal cases involving government contracts would allege that the defendant engaged in any scheme or artifice to defraud the United States relative to federal grant monies, federal contract monies or any other government program money. As procurement fraud and federal wire fraud defense lawyers, we can assist with the general claims at the trial stages. In sum, 18 USC1031 is broadly specifically designed to include any scheme to defraud the government in excess of $1 million. See Tips on Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney to Handle Your Government Contracts Case.
Contact Our Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Defense Attorneys
If you are involved with allegations of major fraud against the United States and need immediate help in a pending case involving mail and wire fraud penalties, contact our government fraud attorneys and federal wire fraud defense attorneys at 1-866-601-5518. FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.
Call our mail fraud lawyers. Speak to Government wire fraud attorney Lawyer and Criminal Defense Attorney for Immediate Help With federal mail and wire fraud penalty cases and other white-collar crimes.