Fraud Against the Government
Florida White-Collar Criminal Defense Attorney/Florida Fraud Against the Government Attorney
Typically, fraud against the government occurs when someone or a business knowingly or intentionally submits a fraudulent or false claim for payment to the United States Government. However, fraud against the government can also occur through false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the government. Some common examples of government fraud include health care fraud, Medicare fraud, procurement fraud, military contractor fraud, public works contract fraud, Social Security fraud, and student loan fraud. Fraud against the government can be considered a serious crime where offenses are usually aggressively pursued.
The majority of federal laws that relate to government fraud can be found in Title 18 of the United States Code. Fraud against the government offenses can be prosecuted under the criminal statutes found in Title 18, but can also be pursued through civil proceedings under common law rights of action. Accordingly, it is possible that if you are charged with a government fraud crime, you may have to deal with both criminal and civil actions at the same time. It is also important to note that in many government fraud cases, whistleblowers, or qui tam relators, are the first to report government fraud, and in these instances, the whistleblowers receive a percentage of the monetary award in the case. An experienced Florida Fraud Against the Government Attorney can review the facts and evidence in your case, and help deal with any investigations, hearings, or litigation that may result from your fraud against the government case.
For each of the crimes identified above, jail time is possible. The amount of jail time and the imposition of fines depend upon the classification of the crime. The table below outlines Florida’s felony and misdemeanor crimes and their range of punishment. Keep in mind that exceptions may exist that alter the range of punishment for any crime.
RANGE OF PUNISHMENT
|Capital Felony||Life imprisonment without parole to potential death penalty|
|Life Felony||A fine not to exceed $15,000 and imprisonment of not more than 40 years to life imprisonment|
|Felony of the First Degree||A fine not to exceed $10,000 and imprisonment not to exceed 30 years to life imprisonment (when allowed under specific statutes)|
|Felony of the Second Degree||A fine not to exceed $10,000 and imprisonment not to exceed 15 years|
|Felony of the Third Degree||A fine not to exceed $5,000 and imprisonment not to exceed 5 years|
|Misdemeanor of the First Degree||A fine not to exceed $1,000 and imprisonment not to exceed 1 year|
|Misdemeanor of the Second Degree||A fine not to exceed $500 and imprisonment not more than 60 days|
Contractor and Procurement Fraud
Of the government fraud examples mentioned above, contractor and procurement fraud are oftentimes two of the costliest types of government fraud. Procurement fraud can occur if a contractor uses bribery to obtain a contract even if they did not submit the best bid, but it can also occur when a contractor submits invoices for incomplete work on a contract, or if a contractor inflates the costs of labor and/or supplies. Under the Federal False Claims Act, contractors who are accused of procurement or contract fraud may face both criminal and civil proceedings. Offenses under the False Claims Act also may include those related to Social Security, healthcare, military contracts, or any other instance where someone or a business submits a false claim for payment to the government. If you are convicted under the False Claims Act, you may have to pay back three times the amount of money stolen from the government, not to mention additional civil fines of up to $10,000.
Health Care Fraud
While procurement and contract fraud are some of the costliest government fraud cases, some of the biggest government fraud cases have involved government health care, and these cases end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars a year. In these instances, an intentional or ignorant misstatement of the facts leads to an unjustified profit through medical coverage. For example, fraud related to Medicaid and/or Medicare occurs when health care companies request reimbursement for procedures or lab tests that were never performed, overestimate clinical costs, charge unreasonable rates, or otherwise attempt to defraud the government. Convictions related to health care fraud can result in hefty fines and lengthy jail sentences.
Possible Negotiation with the Prosecutor
Depending on the crime charged with, you may be eligible for a plea deal where you agree to plea guilty to a lesser crime than you were charged with. For example, if you were arrested for possession of cocaine, and the amount was relatively small, the prosecutor may agree to lower the charge to possession of marijuana, whereby you may be subject to probation and you could avoid jail time. On the other extreme, if you are charged with a violent crime, the prosecutor may be less willing to negotiate.
Whether the prosecutor will agree to negotiate depends on a number of factors, such as the following:
- Do you have a criminal record?
- Are you currently fully employed and otherwise abiding by the law?
- Are you willing to testify against another defendant in exchange for a favorable plea deal?
- Are you a threat to yourself or others?
Prosecutors will consider more than these few questions, however, the most important one is whether or not you have a criminal history. If you have been charged with drug possession, your chances of being offered a favorable plea deal may be decreased if you have been convicted of the same or similar crime in the past. In such a case, a prosecutor may be more inclined to impose jail time. But, remember that you have a right to a jury trial, and if you are honestly not guilty, you will have a chance to prove your case to a jury of your peers.
A strong, competent and seasoned criminal defense attorney who happens to also be a prosecutor, will discuss with you the best options for your particular situation. Attorney Beryl Thompson-McClary will look at all of the available facts and give you an honest opinion regarding your chances of succeeding at trial.
Further, if Beryl Thompson-McClary finds that the police or prosecutor violated your rates in the course of its investigation, then she can file motions with the court to suppress particular evidence. For example, an unreasonable search or seizure and a failure of the police to read Miranda warnings prior to you making an incriminating statement are violations of your rights that Attorney Beryl Thompson-McClary will fight in court.
Contact an Experienced Florida Fraud Against the Government Attorney today for your free consultation!
If you or a loved one has been charged with fraud against the government, whether you were accused of violating the Federal False Claims Act, or other federal fraud law, be sure to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Florida Fraud Against the Government Attorney as soon as possible. A seasoned and dedicated attorney can review your case, advise you of your rights and responsibilities under the law, and help determine the best chances for successfully fighting your criminal charges. Call Beryl Thompson-McClary, J.D., today at 888-640-2999 for your free initial consultation!