Ohio Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Federal Crimes Lawyers Serving All of Ohio
Knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorneys defend individuals and businesses facing civil and criminal liability in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and throughout Ohio.
The attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. have the legal expertise and experience you will want behind you when you take on the federal government with skilled investigators, highly regarded prosecutors, and harsh federal sentencing guidelines. We understand that individuals who contact us are worried about their freedom and future, so they need the highest quality legal defense. Our law firm has developed a national reputation for providing effective defense furnished along with stellar client service and individualized attention.
- Former Justice Department Lawyers Helping You
- Former State & Federal Prosecutors with Government Insights
- Top Federal Litigation Attorneys on Your Team
If federal investigators have contacted you for any reason, it is important to know if you are a potential witness or a suspect. Even if you are informed that you are not a target of the investigation, we highly recommend that you seek immediate legal advice from a skilled and experienced federal criminal defense lawyer if you are facing a federal investigation or grand jury.
Challenges of Overcoming Criminal Charges in Ohio Federal Courts
The challenge of overcoming criminal charges can be complicated under the best of circumstances, but the stakes and risk increase exponentially when you are under the cloud of a federal investigation. There are many aspects of the federal system that make the risk of devastating consequences extremely highly for those charged with federal criminal charges. Because of these distinctions, targets of a federal investigation have a significant advantage if they are represented by defense attorneys who have regularly represented clients accused of federal crimes.
As one might expect, the skill and experience of investigators and prosecutors at this level tend to be exceptional. Law enforcement agencies like the FBI, DEA, and other federal law enforcement agencies attract talented and highly experienced investigators. Federal law enforcement agencies also have access to superior funding and sophisticated law enforcement tools and techniques. While most prosecutors are competent, attorneys with the Department of Justice (DOJ), United States Attorney’s Office also are staffed with top prosecutors who have much more limited caseloads than state and local prosecutors.
The federal sentencing guidelines also have a dramatic impact on federal criminal cases. The guidelines tend to impose much more severe penalties than state sentences for similar offenses. While exposure to decades in a federal penitentiary for many drug offenses can be a disturbing prospect, mandatory minimums make the process of navigating a criminal case in federal court even more difficult. Mandatory minimum sentences mean that defendants could be sentenced to a lengthy sentence despite a range of mitigating circumstances. The process of plea bargaining also is hampered in federal courts because prosecutors do not have the power to enter an agreement for a reduced fixed sentence.
Recent changes in the practices and policies that govern how federal prosecutors approach charging and sentencing in federal cases has magnified the harsh consequences of the federal sentencing guidelines. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has unveiled new programs aimed at combating the opioid abuse epidemic that present obstacles for individuals and entities facing federal charges. One of the new policies recently launched by Sessions involves a modification of the way prosecutors approach charging and sentencing decisions. The prior AG directed prosecutors to exercise discretion in handling certain drug offenses, which included charging lesser offenses that would not trigger automatic mandatory minimum sentences. However, Sessions has implemented a new policy that mandates prosecutors to charge the most serious charge consistent with the facts and to pursue the maximum sentence. Although federal prosecutors can deviate from this requirement, any departure must be based on articulable facts included in the case file after obtaining the approval of a supervising attorney.
Given these aspects of the federal criminal process, individuals informed that they are being investigated by federal authorities need legal representation from attorneys experienced and proven in navigating federal court cases. At Oberheiden, P.C., our law firm has handled over a thousand federal criminal cases, and we count among our attorneys several formal federal prosecutors. If you are concerned about federal regulatory compliance, audits, investigations, grand jury indictments, or criminal prosecutions, our firm can stand behind you like we have individuals and companies in over 30 states.
National Law Firm Provides Aggressive Defense of Healthcare Professionals & Entities
Our attorneys have traveled throughout the United States to advocate for people and corporations under the scrutiny of federal authorities. While our attorneys have taken on every major regulatory, investigative, and prosecutorial agency in the federal government, we have built a special reputation defending individuals and businesses in the medical field. The practice of healthcare law defense is highly specialized because of the complex matrix of federal laws and regulations that govern medical billing of Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE, as well as other healthcare compliance issues.
Our team includes former Medicaid fraud prosecutors with extensive experience in healthcare fraud cases involving both civil and criminal liability. Our lawyers represent doctors, pharmacists, urgent care centers, nursing homes, behavioral health centers, compound pharmacies, and other medical providers and suppliers throughout the United States. Healthcare law is a very specialized area of law, but healthcare fraud cases are especially complicated because they progress extremely rapidly toward devastating sentencing.
Healthcare Fraud Audits & Investigations
Oberheiden, P.C. diligently guides health professionals through federal audits and investigations. Federal investigators use aggressive techniques to expose and prevent healthcare fraud. These efforts often involve the collaboration of federal authorities with state and local law enforcement. Tactics federal investigators might employ include the use of former employees as confidential informants and sophisticated data analysis. This type of aggressive scrutiny might lead to simple negligence and inadvertence being flagged as potential fraud.
We recognize that Medicare/Medicaid billing procedures/manuals are complicated, so coding mistakes and simple confusion can result in dire consequences. We have seen substantial increases in funding by the federal government for healthcare fraud audits and powerful investigative entities. These entities include the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit and Medicare Strike Force Teams. The government has powerful tools and resources that must be met with extensive experience in federal court, exhaustive knowledge of healthcare fraud laws, and a proven record of success.
Healthcare professionals throughout the nation trust Oberheiden, P.C. because over 98 percent of our clients facing a federal OIG audit, target letter or federal grand jury indictment since 2012 have NOT been referred for prosecution after entrusting us with their case.
Further, every one of the physicians, pharmacists, and healthcare professionals we have represented were able to keep their license to practice. While healthcare fraud investigations can arise from a broad range of conduct, allegations commonly include:
- Improperly certifying a patient as home bound
- Operating a “Pill Mill”
- Medicare/Medicaid/TRICARE fraud
- Misrepresentations when reporting medical procedures
- Improperly distributing painkillers and other narcotics
- Overutilization of medical services
- Billing for non-existing patients and procedures that are not provided
- Upcoding from a lower cost to a higher cost service
- Buybacks of prescription medications
- Fraudulent prescription of drugs
- Charging for multiple services that should be billed as a single group
- Performing services or prescribing drugs without an adequate medical justification
- Failing to charge deductibles or co-payments
- Paying bribes or kickbacks for the referral of patients or self-referral to services billed to Medicare/Medicaid
Federal Crimes Defense in Ohio by Distinguished Former Prosecutors
Whether you are up against a federal criminal investigation or your case has progressed to federal charges, your future could look much brighter with a top Ohio federal criminal defense attorney representing you.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our law firm brings multiple former prosecutors that provide an insider advantage to our clients. Other attorneys might have to rely on their knowledge of federal cases only from their experienced defending cases. However, our law firm utilizes our ability to think like the prosecutor because several of our attorneys served in that role. Although many law firms have a former government attorney, we built our firm with an eye toward defending clients from civil and criminal liability in federal courts. Our team of former prosecutors is an important part of that objective.
Factors Distinguishing Our Law Firm in Federal Court Cases
Oberheiden, P.C. is comprised of an experienced team of more than a dozen attorneys who have successfully defended thousands of people facing felony charges and civil penalties in federal and state courts.
Because the attorneys of our law firm have extensive experience in federal court on both sides of the aisle, we are able to dissect the government’s case and anticipate the investigative strategies that will be used to build a case against our client.
A few of the reasons clients elect to retain our law firm for their defense against federal criminal charges include:
- Proven Results in Federal Court: Our law firm has represented clients from states across the country in federal court. Our law firm has prevailed in 69 out of 70 federal jury trials. However, our clients particularly appreciate that we excel at keeping them from ever having to answer for federal charges. Our law firm has successfully shielded our clients up against federal Grand Jury investigations, target letters from federal agencies, and OIG subpoenas in over 98 percent of cases since 2012.
- Exemplary Experience: Although most law firms will bring experience, our attorneys demonstrate that not all experience is created equal. Our attorneys have worked as federal prosecutors for the Department of Justice and United States Attorney’s Office for over seven decades. Our law firm has handled more than a thousand grand jury matters and a thousand criminal trials in federal court.
- National Reputation: Our Ohio criminal defense lawyers are contacted by people all over the United States facing the powerful force of the federal government. Our law firm has represented clients in over 25 states throughout the country in federal audits, investigations by federal agencies, grand jury proceedings, and criminal prosecutions. Our success representing clients in federal courts throughout the country has made our law firm a sought-after resource for individuals and businesses focused on protecting their future from federal authorities.
- Protecting Reputations and Careers: Although fears about prison and harsh fines are legitimate when you are facing an investigation by federal agents from the FBI, the consequence of a criminal charge can be severe even if you are eventually exonerated. Allegations of engaging in unlawful conduct can take a toll on your professional reputation and even result in the loss of a professional license. Our law firm excels at protecting our clients by intervening early in cases to defend against investigations, audits, and grand jury proceedings that could lead to formal charges. This approach has allowed 100 percent of our clients to keep their professional license and to continue operating their business.
Federal Criminal Defense Involving a Wide Range of Charges
- Drug Importation/Exportation/Trafficking
- Wire Fraud
- Obstructing a Federal Audit
- Bribery/Public Corruption
- Acts of Terrorism
- Insurance Fraud
- Civil Rights Violations
- False Claims Acts Actions (Civil and Criminal)
- Mortgage Fraud
- Securities and Commodities Violations
- Mail Fraud
- White-Collar Crimes
- Identity Theft
- Destruction of Corporate Audit Records
- Cyber Crimes
- Sex Offenses Involving Minors
- Civil Monetary Penalties Law Violations
- Lying to Federal Investigators
- Subordination of Perjury
- Money Laundering
- Sex Trafficking
- Obstruction of Federal Audits
- Bank Fraud
- Defrauding the Federal Government
- Tax Fraud/Evasion
- Environmental Crimes
- Witness Tampering
- Crimes Related to Firearms and Explosives
- Anti-Kickback Law Offenses
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- False Statements Related to Healthcare Billings
- Fraud Committed against the Federal Government
- Medicaid/Medicare Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Hate Crimes
- Human Trafficking
- Stark Law Violations
- Felonies Committed Across State Lines or on Federal Property
FAQs Regarding Ohio Federal Criminal Court Cases
What is a target letter?
A target letter is a letter sent out by prosecutors from the Department of Justice indicating that you are the target of a federal investigation. By the time federal prosecutors issue a target letter, it is likely that they’ve made up their mind to formally file charges against you. However, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself. Most importantly, you should immediately reach out to a dedicated Ohio federal criminal defense attorney. An attorney can advise you on all of your available options, and communicate with federal prosecutors on your behalf. This will not only eliminate much of the stress and anxiety that you are undoubtedly experiencing, but also give you a better chance at favorably resolving the case.
If I did not commit a crime should I tell my side of the story if I am contacted by a federal agent?
Federal agents are skilled interrogators which means that they use sophisticated techniques to obtain incriminating information. The goal of federal agents that investigate crimes is not to find the objective truth. The agents are looking for evidence to support prosecution in a criminal case. Although you have powerful constitutional rights, such as the right to counsel and the right against self-incrimination, the agents have no concern for the protection of your rights or your best interests. Before you ever speak to a federal agent or any law enforcement officer, you should retain an experienced Ohio federal criminal defense lawyer. While overcrowding of prisons in many states is a serious problem, it would not exist if every person accused of a crime observed this basic rule.
What should I do if I’m indicted?
An indictment is only issued after federal prosecutors have presented their case to a grand jury, which determined that there is sufficient evidence to formally bring charges against you. At this point, federal prosecutors have already investigated the allegations and come to their own conclusion as to your involvement. However, this does not mean that you are guilty of a federal crime. To learn more about the possible defenses that may apply to your case, contact an Ohio federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What federal agencies investigate and prosecute criminal cases?
Although many people know about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Department of Justice, many other agencies play a role in enforcing federal offenses. Some of the major agencies include the following:
- The IRS pursues federal tax crimes like tax fraud, tax evasion, healthcare fraud, money laundering, and drug distribution.
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service handle offenses related to the mail service and related offenses. When documents involving the commission of a crime are circulated through the mail service, such as a fraudulent tax return or narcotics, these also can be pursued.
- The SEC investigates civil enforcement actions involving securities and trading offenses.
- The ATF investigates and prosecutes crimes involving firearms and explosives. The agency also pursues offenses involving the diversion of alcohol and tobacco.
- ICE enforces crimes related to immigration offenses and homeland security.
- The Social Security Administration Office of Investigation pursues many offenses like identity theft, bank fraud, false claims, and mail fraud.
While this is hardly an exhaustive list of agencies that pursue federal crimes or a comprehensive list of all crimes, it provides some insight into the massive resources wielded by the federal government.
What is are “departures” and “variances” in federal sentencing law?
Federal judges are required to consult with the federal sentencing guidelines when coming up with a sentence. However, judges can also rely on variances and departures in fashioning a sentence that is outside the initial guideline range. The difference between a departure and a variance is important, although it is also complex. A departure occurs when a judge hands down a sentence that is outside the initial guideline range (determined by the defendant’s prior record and the seriousness of the offense for which they were convicted) but based on considerations included in the guideline system. For example, a defendant’s cooperation with the prosecution is a reason for a downward departure. Variances on the other hand involve a judge considering factors that are outside the guidelines. For example, a judge may issue an upward variance for a defendant who, in the judge’s opinion, had a high chance of reoffending. While the federal sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory, they are still influential in a judge’s sentencing practice. If you face federal charges, contact a Ohio federal criminal defense attorney to learn more about what you face and how best to defend against the charges.
What should I look for when hiring a Ohio federal criminal defense attorney?
There is no shortage of federal criminal defense attorneys, most of which are eager to take any case that comes across their desk. However, given the serious consequences of a conviction, it is crucial that you identify a Ohio federal criminal defense attorney who possesses extensive hands-on experience handling they type of case the government is bringing against you. Federal criminal charges vary significantly, from white collar crimes to healthcare fraud claims, and the attorney you select to represent you should possess in-depth knowledge of the law that pertains to your case. They should also have a successful track record both litigating and negotiating favorable plea agreements.
How do federal judges sentence those convicted of a federal crime?
After someone is convicted of a federal crime, the judge will determine the sentence. To do so, they must consult the federal sentencing guidelines. The federal guidelines provide a sentencing range based on the defendant’s prior record and the seriousness of the offense for which they were convicted. Once the judge arrives at the sentencing range, he or she will then consider whether there are any departures or variances that are appropriate, given the specific circumstances of the case. While the federal sentencing guidelines are advisory, meaning judges are not required to follow them, the judge must go through the calculation and justify any sentence that is outside that range. Thus, most judges’ sentencing practices are in accordance with the sentencing guidelines, absent unusual circumstances. If you are facing charges in federal court, it is imperative that you discuss your case with a Ohio federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Tenacious & Effective Ohio Federal Criminal Defense Representation against Federal Civil & Criminal Liability
If you have been charged with a federal crime or you merely learn you might become the target of a federal investigation or audit, we offer the skill and experience to take on powerful and well-funded agencies. Call us at (888) 519-4897 or request a free case evaluation online now to discuss your options.
Other state pages can be found here.
Additional Pages for Ohio
- Ohio civil investigative demands
- Ohio False Claims Act & Qui Tam defense
- Ohio healthcare fraud defense
- Ohio Medicare fraud defense
- Ohio Medicare fraud penalties
- Cincinnati federal criminal defense
- Cincinnati healthcare fraud defense
- Cleveland federal criminal defense
- Cleveland healthcare fraud defense
- Columbus federal criminal defense
- Columbus healthcare fraud defense
Dr. Nick Oberheiden, founder of Oberheiden P.C., focuses his litigation practice on white-collar criminal defense, government investigations, SEC & FCPA enforcement, and commercial litigation.