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Federal False Statements

February 2, 2019

Many people don’t realize that making false statements to a federal agent can be punished by up to five years in prison. Under some circumstances, you could have to sit behind bars for eight years. What classifies as a false statement? You could be charged with making federal false statements if you intentionally misled or lied to a federal agent from the FBI, SEC or DEA. Even if they didn’t place you under oath at the time and this occurred during a brief and informal questioning, you could still get charged with making a federal false statement, which is why you have to exercise a high degree of caution when speaking with them.

How to Get a Conviction

Before you can get charged with making federal false statements, the prosecutor will first have to prove that you willfully or knowingly lied to them. This type of statement is one that is capable of influencing the federal agent’s decisions. Unfortunately, the federal court system gives agents a wide latitude when it comes to prosecuting someone for this crime. You have to exercise a lot of caution if you don’t want to go down this road with federal agents.

Crushing Consequences

Unfortunately, this crime has wreaked havoc upon the lives of many people, and not only do you face prison time but if you have a career as a lawyer, doctor or securities broker, you could lose you could have your license revoked and lose your right to practice that profession. Considering that you face steep and harsh sentencing, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as you learn that you have received a charge for this. You can’t afford to leave this to chance.

What are the Defenses?

One of the most common defenses that you can use against a charge like this is that the statement given had no reasonable relation to the government. This type of defense focuses on Section 1001, and it requires that the conduct occurred within the agency or department of the United States. Without this type of proof, they may not be able to get a conviction. However, these are federal cases, and federal crimes have a 90 percent conviction rate, which means this isn’t something that you want to mess around with. You want to make sure that you have the best lawyer to stand behind you with this case.

Making a False Statement

To get convicted of this crime, the federal courts will have to prove three different things:

  • That you made a false statement or used written materials for a false statement.
  • The statement had material related to the government.
  • You acted with the intentional purpose of misleading

Along with five years in prison, you could also face a $250,000 fine. For the crime to get added up to eight years in prison, you would have to have made a false connection in connection with terrorism.

Beware of Making Statements

You have a constitutional right not to incriminate yourself, which allows you to plead the fifth. In all situations, you’re normally better off not speaking with a federal agent unless you have your lawyer present because they can defend your rights and ensure that you don’t do anything that could falsely incriminate you. In some cases, they take things that you said out of context with the intention of getting a conviction. Federal prosecutor love to fall back on federal false statement because of how it’s a blanket statute that lets them catch a variety of crimes. While you have no right to lie to them, they have a right to lie to you.

Here at our law firm, we have seen this statute employed many times as a way of getting a person convicted. Any time fraudulent activity is involved, this statute gets employed as a way of getting a conviction. You should also understand that if you gave a false statement that involved a higher dollar amount, this law can be somewhat draconian. The more cash that is involved in the case, the higher the chances that you will get convicted, but having a good lawyer on hand will give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction.

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