In 2009, an elderly gentleman named Bernard Madoff was convicted of what was considered one of the largest (if not the largest) Ponzi schemes the United States has ever seen. According to the FBI, Madoff, who made billions off the scheme from his investor-victims, was charged and convicted of “securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (‘SEC’), and theft from an employee benefit plan.” He was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $170,799,000,000 to his investor-victims.
While Madoff’s staggering fine and prison sentence stemmed from an 11-count charge against him, it’s necessary to point out that federal fraud crimes of a smaller magnitude than Madoff’s will still result in hefty charges. The federal government outlines different charges for several fraudulent crimes, including tax fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud, and Medicare/Medicaid fraud, among other areas of fraud. The sentences are broken down by charge, and can include a fine or prison time, or both:
- Wire/Radio/Television Fraud – carries a prison term of up to 20 years.
- Bank Fraud – carries a prison term of up to 30 years.
- Healthcare Fraud – carries a term of up to ten years. If the fraudulent activity results in bodily harm to another individual, the term can be increased to up to 20 years. If the activity results in the death of another individual, the term can be increased to any number of years or to life in prison.
- Securities/Commodities Fraud – carries a prison term of up to 25 years.
It’s important to note that an individual who even attempts any of the above fraudulent acts can also receive the same charges as noted above.
Identity theft is one of the most common forms of fraudulent activity. Possessing another person’s personal information, such as a driver’s license, social security number, or bank account information, will definitely lead to fines and prison time of up to 15 years, even if you did not use the information in your possession. The fine and prison sentence will both increase if you are found in possession of the personal information of several people, or if you use the information in your possession to commit a drug trafficking crime or violent crime.
Telemarketing Fraud – Enhanced Penalties
18 U.S.C. §2326 describes enhanced penalties for telemarketing fraud. Anyone who is “convicted of an offense under sections 1028, 1029, 1341, 1342, 1343, or 1344, or a conspiracy to commit such an offense, in connection with the conduct of telemarketing” will receive an additional prison term of up to five years. If you are convicted under any of the aforementioned sections and the victim or victims of the fraudulent scheme are 55 years old or older, you will receive an additional prison term of up to ten years.
Congress created the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to cover fraudulent activity in the computers of the government and certain financial institutions. As computer crimes became more sophisticated, the Act has been amended several times and can be found under 18 U.S.C. §1030. Below gives a quick overview of prison terms under this act:
- Obtaining National Security Information – 10 – 20 years, 20 max
- Accessing a Computer and Obtaining Information – 1 or 5 years, 10 max
- Trespassing in a Government Computer – 1 year, 10 max
- Accessing a Computer to Defraud & Obtain Value – 5 years, 10 max
- Intentionally Damaging by Knowing Transmission – 1 or 10 years, 20 max
- Recklessly Damaging by Intentional Access – 1 or 5 years, 20 max
- Negligently Causing Damage & Loss by Intentional Access – 1 year, 10 max
- Trafficking in Passwords – 1 year, 10 max
- Extortion Involving Computers – 5 years, 10 max
How Columbus Federal Fraud Attorneys from Luftman, Heck and Associates Can Help
If you have been charged with a federal fraud crime, you can see from the above descriptions that you are facing some serious charges, and you need to have a reliable and accomplished legal team on your side. Our Columbus federal fraud attorneys are available to answer your questions and make sure you get the help you need. Call the criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (614) 500-3836 or [email protected]
Facing federal criminal charges? Contact us.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, you’re probably wondering what your options are. The Ohio federal criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have years of experience handling these types of cases and winning optimal outcomes for our clients. Call an Ohio federal crime lawyer today for a free consultation. To contact a criminal defense attorney, call us at (614) 500-3836 or email us via [email protected].