Department of Homeland Security Fraud Defense
Like many other federal departments, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains an active focus on combatting fraud, waste, and abuse. However, with its focus on protecting national security, DHS’s efforts often target high-level offenses, and DHS investigations can present extreme risks for the individuals and businesses the Department targets.
At Oberheiden P.C., our senior attorneys bring centuries of combined experience to representing individuals and businesses in DHS fraud matters. We also work with a nationwide network of former federal law enforcement agents who provide advice during our clients’ cases, including a former DHS Special Agent. As former federal prosecutors, many of our senior attorneys have been on both sides of DHS fraud cases, and this experience provides invaluable insights when it comes to DHS fraud defense.
Types of Fraud Investigated by DHS
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigates individuals and businesses for a broad range of fraud-related offenses. Our lawyers and consultants have been on both sides of numerous different types of DHS fraud matters. We provide defense representation for matters including (but not limited to):
Bribery and Embezzlement
DHS investigates cases involving suspected bribery and embezzlement involving Department personnel. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other federal statutes either directly or indirectly prohibit virtually all types of corrupt practices, and DHS employees, U.S. citizens, domestic businesses, and foreign interests can all face prosecution in these cases. We represent companies and individuals suspected of offering bribes, DHS employees accused of soliciting and accepting bribes, and individuals and entities facing investigations for embezzling government funds through DHS.
Credential fraud can involve either forging federal government credentials or obtaining credentials through unlawful means. As DHS explains, “operational components such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, issue, validate or verify eligibility requirements; licenses and certifications for travel, citizenship, and immigration status; employment eligibility; and supply chain security.” In order to ensure that these credentials are valid, DHS undertakes extensive investigative efforts, and it is becoming increasingly reliant on data analytics and other advanced technologies to identify fraudulent credentials.
COVID-19 Related Fraud
DHS has identified several enforcement priorities in the area of COVID-19 related fraud. It, along with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other departments, is actively conducting numerous investigations targeting a wide range of crimes. This includes everything from phishing schemes to selling ineffective personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical equipment and supplies.
Cybersecurity fraud is another area that has been receiving increased attention from DHS in recent years. DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is primarily responsible for investigating fraud in this area, and it does so through highly-sophisticated means. CISA investigations target phishing schemes, malware and ransomware attacks, and other attempts to exploit cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the U.S. government and at private companies. When these investigations lead to charges, substantial penalties can be on the table, and CISA agents work with DOJ prosecutors to secure jurisdiction over those suspected of perpetrating cyber attacks and fraud schemes both in the U.S. and abroad.
DHS Contract Fraud
DHS contractors are subject to a host of contractual and statutory obligations. Failure to meet many of these obligations can be prosecuted as DHS fraud. Our senior attorneys defend DHS contractors accused of all types of fraudulent practices, including:
- Submitting false information in order to secure DHS contracts
- Failing to perform under DHS contracts
- Substituting inferior materials under DHS contracts
- Overbilling or double-billing DHS
- Billing DHS for services or materials provided to other entities
- Falsifying invoices or other records
- Making false statements or offering bribes to DHS agents in order to win or retain contracts
DHS Program Fraud
DHS administers various programs that offer grants and other benefits to public and private businesses and institutions. Businesses and institutions that defraud these programs can face prosecution, and owners, executives, and administrators who are personally involved in their organizations’ fraudulent activities can face prosecution as well. We provide DHS fraud defense for matters involving all DHS programs and all forms of alleged fraud. This includes everything from theft to blackmail, and from contract fraud to grant fraud.
Espionage and Smuggling
Given its role in protecting national security, DHS devotes substantial resources to investigating and prosecuting cases of suspected espionage and smuggling. We defend individuals and organizations suspected of espionage and smuggling, and we also work with companies facing matters involving DHS. For example, we serve as legal counsel for companies that have been infiltrated in cybersecurity breaches and other malicious attacks, as well as for companies that have hired employees who are suspected of operating on behalf of malign foreign interests.
Identity Theft and Online Fraud
DHS gets involved in many different types of federal investigations involving allegations of identity theft and online fraud. This includes matters involving suspected online tax fraud. Identify theft (often prosecuted as aggravated identity theft) is a serious criminal offense under U.S. federal law, as are fraudulently obtaining tax refunds and gaining access to government or third-party funds through other fraudulent means.
Immigration Fraud (Document and Benefit Fraud)
Immigration fraud is another top DHS law enforcement priority. This includes all forms of document and benefit fraud (i.e. counterfeiting green cards or making fraudulent representations to secure immigration status), as well as immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking. We have significant experience representing individuals and businesses in federal immigration fraud cases, and we handle cases involving allegations ranging from I-9 fraud to perpetrating large-scale immigration fraud schemes.
Strategic Defense Counsel for High-Stakes DHS Fraud Cases
DHS fraud defense presents unique challenges. The stakes can be extremely high, and DHS has substantial resources at its disposal. As a result, avoiding prosecution and sentencing requires highly-experienced defense counsel with the tactical capabilities required to go toe-to-toe with DHS.
When clients engage Oberheiden P.C. for DHS fraud defense, our senior attorneys and consultants get to work immediately. We intervene and disrupt the process, and we work quickly to collect the information we need to build a sound and strategic defense. Our senior attorneys engage with DHS personnel and DOJ prosecutors directly, and we seek to leverage the available information (or lack thereof) in order to steer our clients’ cases toward favorable pre-trial resolutions.
But, while we have a high success rate of helping our clients avoid charges, in some cases clients come to us too late. If it is not possible to avoid an indictment, and if prosecutors are committed to taking your case to trial, we will defend you (and/or your company or institution) by all means available. In addition to being highly-skilled in all aspects of federal pretrial practice, our senior attorneys are also seasoned litigators, and we have helped numerous clients avoid severe penalties at trial.
FAQs: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fraud Defense
Why Am I (or Why is My Business) Being Targeted By DHS?
DHS chooses individuals and entities to target in fraud investigations through a variety of different means. For example, while DHS is increasingly utilizing data analytics, blockchain technology, and even artificial intelligence to uncover fraud, it still relies heavily on whistleblowers to report suspected fraudulent practices. DHS also routinely works with the DOJ and other agencies when these agencies’ investigations trigger concerns related to national security.
What Constitutes DHS Fraud?
From bribery to falsifying immigration documents, DHS fraud can take many different forms. When facing a DHS investigation, determining the scope and nature of the allegations at issue is crucial to determining how to structure your (or your company’s) defense. When you choose Oberheiden P.C., our senior attorneys will work quickly to discern the allegations at issue and build a targeted defense strategy.
When Do I Need To Engage Legal Counsel for DHS Fraud Defense?
If you are facing any type of inquiry involving DHS, it is strongly in your interests to engage DHS fraud defense counsel immediately. In most cases, by the time the subject of a DHS investigation learns of the inquiry, it is already well on its way to resulting in an indictment. Engaging defense counsel right away will give you the greatest opportunity to avoid an indictment, while waiting any longer than necessary could make it much more difficult to achieve a favorable pre-trial resolution.
How Do I Choose DHS Fraud Defense Counsel?
When choosing DHS fraud defense counsel, relevant experience is certainly among the most-important factors. At Oberheiden P.C., our senior attorneys and consultants have extensive experience on both sides of DHS fraud matters. We use this experience to build and execute targeted defense strategies focused on protecting our clients as fully and efficiently as possible.
Speak with a Senior DHS Fraud Defense Attorney in Confidence
If you would like to speak with one of our senior attorneys about DHS fraud defense, we encourage you to contact us promptly. To schedule a complimentary and confidential case assessment as soon as possible, call 888-680-1745 or inquire online now.