Crime Descriptions and Information
Below is information and descriptions of various type of crimes.
If you have been contacted by federal or state law enforcement agents requesting a meeting with you, or if you have been arrested. Contact our highly experienced and winning criminal defense team at Oberheiden, P.C. today. Don’t wait call today.
White-collar crime (or corporate crime) includes any financially motivated, nonviolent crime committed by business or government professionals. Below, we briefly define several common white-collar crimes and provide an example of each:
Health Care Fraud – Examples include: submitting false claims for payment to a federal benefits program or private insurer, billing for services that were medically unnecessary or never actually provided, billing for duplicate services, billing multiple payers for the same service, “upcoding,” etc.
Tax Fraud – Examples include: under-reporting your income, underpaying your taxes, making false representations to the IRS, etc.
Federal Program Fraud – Submitting false information or other misrepresentations to any federal program (for example, Medicare, Medicare, Tricare, the Department of Labor, etc.) or otherwise violating the law for financial or personal gain.
Mail Fraud – Using any mail system (USPS, UPS, FedEx, courier services, etc.) in the course of committing fraud. For example, mailing a fraudulent bill to Medicaid may constitute not only health care fraud but also mail fraud.
Wire Fraud – Using any wired or electronic communications system (internet, email, telephone, text message, radio, television, etc.) in the course of committing fraud. For example, submitting a false Medicare claim online may constitute not only health care fraud but also wire fraud.
Money Laundering – Using a business to conceal the proceeds of criminal activity (such as cash or other assets). For example, a drug dealer opens a marketing business but it’s really a “shell company” for the drug proceeds. If other people are involved in the business, they can be prosecuted for using the drug money in business transactions, even if they didn’t know where it came from and were “willfully blind.”
Obstruction of Justice – Any interference in the course of justice can constitute obstruction if the intent is to influence the outcome or to protect someone’s interests. There are many federal obstruction of justice statutes, each pertaining to different types of behavior. Common examples include lying to the police and altering or destroying evidence.
Grand Theft – Federal larceny is different than grand theft at the state level. It involves the taking or misappropriation of federal property. This includes the physical theft of tangible property as well as theft of intangible property through deception, fraud, or by trick. Examples include not only the theft of a federal vehicle, but also credit card scams or other schemes intended to permanently convert the possession of federal property without permission.
Identity Theft – Federal criminal law punishes many forms of identity theft, including: producing or selling false identification documents (e.g., fake IDs), trafficking in fake IDs, using a fake ID to defraud the U.S. government, and so on. Federal identity theft cases range from credit card theft and stolen social security numbers to the use of someone else’s identity to make a terror threat.
Aggravated Identity Theft – Identity theft (see above) that occurs in the context of a specific crime as listed in 18 U.S.C. 1028A. These crimes include mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, terrorism, false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm, and others.
Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud – Two or more people agree to defraud a health care program, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or a private insurer. For example, plotting to send a false or exaggerated claim for payment to Medicare would be a criminal conspiracy, even if you never went through with it (though some conspiracy statutes do require that at least one party takes an “overt step” toward committing the fraud).
Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering – Two or more people agree to engage in money laundering (see above).
Conspiracy to Commit Mail or Wire Fraud – Two or more people agree to commit mail fraud or wire fraud (see above).
Conspiracy to Violate Civil Rights – Two or more people agree to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate someone else in the free exercise of their civil rights; or example, plotting to keep someone from voting in a civil election.
Seditious Conspiracy – Two or more people plot to overthrow the U.S. government or to forcibly prevent the execution of U.S. law. Political groups hostile to the U.S. government may be in danger of seditious conspiracy charges, but the statute is sometimes used in ordinary fraud or grand theft cases when the defendant is accused of taking federal property by force.
And many more…
A drug or opioid case might involve any criminal activity concerning medications, controlled substances, or drugs of any kind (including those formulated to replicate opium). Below, we briefly explain several drug & opioid crimes that occur in the context of a repeated or ongoing crime (such as a federal conspiracy):
Conspiracy to Unlawfully Distribute Controlled Substances – An agreement between at least two people to transfer, transport, import, sell, or otherwise distribute a medication or drug in violation of the Controlled Substances Act or any other federal law.
Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Deliver – Two or more people make a plan to acquire a controlled substance, and their intent for such possession is to transfer, transport, or sell the substance to someone else. As with other conspiracy laws, the agreement to possess with intent to deliver is a crime, even if the parties never successfully come into possession of the drug or never go through with delivery.
Conspiracy to Violate RICO – RICO is a federal law that empowers prosecutors to charge individuals who order others to commit a crime (or to assist in the commission of a crime). Merely scheming or agreeing to order someone else to commit a crime can constitute a Conspiracy to Violate RICO, depending on the facts of the situation and the conspiracy statute used.
Use of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking – While drug trafficking is a crime on its own, using a gun or firearm in the course of the crime can result in even tougher penalties.
Continuing Criminal Enterprise – The CCE Statute (or “Kingpin Statute”) is used to prosecute large, complex, or elaborate drug conspiracies involving more than five people.
Racketeering – For example, creating the need for a business service through dishonest means and then profiting from the service (e.g., putting malware on someone’s computer and then offering to remove it for a fee). Racketeering can take many forms and may be charged in some drug and opioid cases (for example, prescribing opioids unnecessarily to dependent patients).
And many more…
Violent Crime cases involve the use or threat of force upon a victim. They may include objective crimes (where the act is violent in nature) or offenses in which violence is the means to an end. Below, we briefly define several violent crimes using examples:
Criminal Sexual Misconduct (1st, 2nd, 3rd degrees) – Includes a wide range of criminal offenses, such as: intentional touching without consent, exposing the genitals, sexual assault, and rape. More serious offenses are assigned a higher “degree” of criminality in different jurisdictions with escalating penalties for each.
Murder (all degrees) – The unlawful and premeditated killing of another human being. (Different jurisdictions define the various degrees of murder and homicide differently.) Murder can become a federal crime in many situations. Common examples include murders connected to federal drug trafficking or murders that cross state lines.
Attempted Murder – Taking an overt action toward murdering someone. For example, shooting someone in the chest or luring someone to a trap that the defendant has set to kill them.
Manslaughter – The unlawful killing of another human being without malice. Manslaughter may be voluntary (e.g., an unpremeditated killing that happens in the heat of passion) or involuntary (e.g., an accidental killing that happens in the course of reckless conduct or in the commission of a non-felony crime).
Aggravated Assault – Any assault (that is, a physical act or threat that creates the apprehension of immediate unwanted contact or bodily harm) that involves an aggravating factor (for example, the use of a dangerous weapon or where the intended bodily harm is of a serious nature).
Unarmed Robbery – The taking of someone else’s property by force, threat of force, or inflicting fear, such as robbery committed by way of assault.
Armed Robbery – Robbery becomes armed robbery when it is committed using a weapon (or the perception of a weapon, e.g., pretending to have a gun).
Assault and Battery – Though definitions vary among jurisdictions, the crime of assault and battery generally requires that the defendant creates a reasonable apprehension of immediate harm in the victim (assault) and that the defendant makes an intentional and unwanted touching that was harmful or offensive to the victim (battery). In the classic example, swinging a punch toward someone without making contact is an assault. Going through with the punch is assault and battery.
Assault with Intent to Commit Murder – In these cases, the government must be able to prove not only assault (see above), but also that the assault was committed with the specific intent to murder. Such intent must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, making this a challenging charge for prosecutors. For example, firing a gun with the intent of seriously injuring someone is not the same thing as firing a gun with intent to murder.
Felonious Assault – An assault (see above) involving a dangerous weapon that has the potential to cause severe bodily harm or death. Felonious assault is a frequently charged crime, but its definition can vary among jurisdictions. It is usually not necessary for the defendant to fire a weapon, make contact with the victim, or cause physical harm. Merely using a dangerous weapon to cause the defendant to reasonably fear imminent bodily harm is enough.
Attempt to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction – The term “weapon of mass destruction” became a household phrase during the United States’ search for such weapons in Iraq during the George W. Bush administration – namely, nuclear warheads and enrichment materials. But the Department of Justice uses a much broader definition than does the Department of Defense. Pipe bombs, small explosives, pressure cooker devices, mines, grenades, and even some guns can be enough to support an Attempt to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction charge.
Drunk Driving (Manslaughter) — When a drunk driver causes someone else’s death as a result of driving under the influence (“vehicular homicide”), it is often prosecuted as manslaughter (see above). The relevant BAC (blood alcohol content), criminal elements required for conviction, and penalties can vary from state to state. If you are on federal property, different rules may apply. For example, under federal law, you can be convicted for DUI even if your BAC is not above the legal limit (rather, the relevant question is whether you were capable of safely operating the vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol or drugs).
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Avoided Criminal Charges
A criminal charge is a formal allegation by the government that you have violated a criminal statute (or sometimes another source of law, such as a regulatory law carrying criminal penalties). At Oberheiden, P.C., we routinely avoid criminal charges for clients in FBI, OIG, IRS, and DEA cases. Investigations and criminal charges we fight to avoid include:
Health Care Fraud Investigations – While most healthcare fraud investigations are led by the OIG or DEA, other investigating agencies might include the IRS, FBI, or a joint task force. Activity investigated in these matters might include: filing false or phantom claims, committing pharmaceutical fraud, physician self-referrals (Stark Law cases), and any other activity intended to defraud a federal healthcare benefits program or private insurance carrier.
False Claims Act Cases – The False Claims Act is a federal law making it illegal to submit false or fraudulent claims to a federal benefits program. Common violations include fraudulent billing, phantom billing, “upcoding,” double billing, or billing for medically unnecessary services. False Claims Act investigations often begin with the filing of a qui tam lawsuit by a private party (a disgruntled patient, employee, or coworker, perhaps) on the government’s behalf.
Anti-Kickback Cases – The Anti-Kickback Statute is a federal statute making it illegal for healthcare providers (or businesses) to receive remuneration in exchange for the referral of federal beneficiary patients. Federal investigators frequently scrutinize patient referral programs.
Medicare Fraud Allegations – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) routinely audit and assess incoming claims and government payouts to private health care providers. These reviews may be conducted internally at CMS or by third-party contractors. Even minor discrepancies might result in Medicare fraud allegations that can have civil and/or criminal penalties.
Tricare Fraud Matters – Tricare is a federal benefits program and, as such, is covered by many of the same protections that apply to programs like Medicare or Medicaid. Billing discrepancies are likely to result in audits or investigations into Tricare fraud.
Medicaid Fraud Investigations – Similar to Medicare fraud investigations (see above), Medicaid fraud investigations often spring from seemingly minor or unintentional billing errors. The penalties may be civil and/or criminal in nature and can be severe. Because Medicaid is a joint federal and state program, state investigators and state-level law enforcement agencies may be involved as well.
Tax Fraud – Any violation of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code can result in an IRS investigation or allegation of tax fraud. Examples include underpaying taxes, underreporting income, and making misrepresentations on a tax return.
Mail & Wire Fraud – Whenever an alleged act of fraud involves the use of a mail carrier (e.g., USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.) or the use of a wired communication (e.g., email, telephone, internet, wire transfer, fax), prosecutors are likely to add a charge of mail fraud or wire fraud, respectively.
Money Laundering – Defined simply, money laundering is the act of disguising illegal gains, proceeds, or profits so that they appear to come from legitimate sources. It is called “laundering” because the defendant is accused of trying to make “dirty” gains look “clean.” In the classic example, a drug dealer disguises their operation as a pizza delivery business.
Public Corruption – A public official’s breach of his or her duty out of self-interest. Examples include a politician, candidate, border guard, prison guard, health inspector, or other official who accepts a bribe or trades political favors for personal favors.
Bribery – There are many kinds of unlawful bribery under federal law. For example, giving something of value to an official or bank officer with the intention of influencing them in their duties.
Securities Fraud – Inducing investors to make transactions or decisions on the basis of false information (or other deceptive practices affecting the stock market or commodities).
Investment Fraud – Inducing investors to make investments or investment decisions on the basis of false information.
Mortgage Fraud – Intentionally misrepresenting information in a mortgage application for the purposes of obtaining a loan (or a larger loan).
Computer Fraud – Almost any use of a computer in the commission of fraud might be prosecuted as federal computer fraud. Examples include using a computer to gain unlawful access or to modify data in the commission of fraud.
Tax Evasion – Examples include intentionally masking, underreporting, or failing to disclose income or other assets to reduce an individual or company’s tax liability.
Federal Blackmail – Threatening to reveal embarrassing or harmful information unless the victim provides something of value.
Bank Fraud – Examples include: using a banking system or transaction in the commission of fraud, fraudulently posing as a financial institution, or using false information to defraud a financial institution of money or assets.
Credit Card Fraud – Any use of a credit card in the commission of fraud. Examples include a fraudulent scheme targeting people’s credit cards, accepting proceeds from credit card payments in a scheme to defraud, or fraudulently using a credit card as a source of payment.
Embezzlement – The wrongful conversion of assets that have been entrusted to you, such as an employee who steals money that the employer has entrusted in the employee’s possession for a specific or limited purpose.
Identity Theft – The wrongful and intentional use of someone else’s identifying information (e.g., name, driver’s license, social security number, ID card, etc.).
And many more…
Contact our highly experienced and proven criminal defense team at Oberheiden, P.C. today. Don’t delay call today to discus your case.