Delivering Outstanding Results Since 1987
Federal fraud cases can be long and complicated. Understanding the charges brought against you and how the prosecution will pursue those charges is key to building a strong defense. At Levine & Levine, we work hard to uncover our clients' legal options, and we file all necessary pre-trial motions. Our attention to detail and tireless pursuit of justice for our clients has garnered us an exceptional success rate.
With over a century of combined experience handling fraud cases in federal courts, we have the qualifications to handle any fraud case. Our practice is founded on a deep, intellectual understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Backed by an academic approach and decades of experience, we have what it takes to get the job done.
What Is Fraud?
Most fraud cases fall into the category of economic crimes. These crimes typically involve deception and manipulation to obtain money or other property of value. Fraud cases are often investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and convictions can have severe penalties, including decades in prison. There are many different types of fraud, and the federal government can prosecute both individuals and organizations, depending on the circumstances.
Examples of federal fraud cases include:
- Bank Fraud: Bank fraud involves deceitful practices aimed at obtaining money, assets, or other property owned or held by a bank or financial institution. Common examples include forgery, check kiting, credit card fraud, and false loan applications.
- Corporate Fraud: Corporate fraud refers to dishonest activities conducted by employees or executives within a corporation with the intention of benefiting themselves or the company improperly. Common examples include financial statement fraud, insider trading, and bribery.
- Embezzlement: Embezzlement is the misappropriation or theft of funds entrusted to an individual's care but owned by someone else, often an employer. Common examples include stealing money from a company's accounts, misusing company funds, or redirecting payments for personal use.
- Government Benefits Fraud: Government benefits fraud involves providing false information to receive government assistance or benefits illegitimately. Common examples include falsifying income information to qualify for welfare benefits or submitting fake disability claims.
- Health Care Fraud: Health care fraud involves deceptive practices in the health care industry, including billing for services not provided, overcharging, or providing unnecessary treatments. Common examples include billing for phantom patients, upcoding procedures, or kickbacks for patient referrals.
- Identity Theft: Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully acquires and uses another person's personal information, such as Social Security numbers, to commit fraud. Common examples include opening bank accounts, applying for credit cards, or filing tax returns using stolen identities.
- Mail Fraud: Mail fraud involves using the postal service to carry out fraudulent schemes, often through false representations or promises. Common examples include fraudulent sweepstakes, fake lottery schemes, or deceptive fundraising letters.
- Mortgage Fraud: Mortgage fraud involves misrepresentation or deception in the mortgage lending process, typically for financial gain. Common examples include falsifying income documents, inflating property values, or providing false information on mortgage applications.
- Securities and Investment Fraud: Securities and investment fraud involve deceptive practices in the financial markets, such as false information about securities or manipulative trading practices. Common examples include Ponzi schemes, insider trading, or misleading investors with false financial statements.
- Wire Fraud: Wire fraud involves using electronic communication, such as email or phone calls, to defraud someone of money or property. Common examples include business email compromise, phishing scams, or fraudulent wire transfers.
Two of the most common types of fraud cases are bank fraud and wire fraud. Bank fraud refers to instances in which the alleged offender has used deception to obtain money or property from a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union. Wire fraud involves the use of phone lines and electronic communication to execute the offense. Examples of wire fraud include telemarketing scams and phishing.
A conviction for bank fraud can result in a 30-year prison sentence. Meanwhile, wire fraud convictions can result in 20 years’ imprisonment and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
What Is Tax Fraud?
Often referred to as tax evasion, tax fraud refers to the violation of federal tax laws and the Internal Revenue Code. Tax fraud and tax evasion are a lot more than just not paying your taxes. These cases are investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) and can include a wide range of offenses. Additionally, you will notice some overlap between the FBI's fraud cases and those handled by CI. Typically, if the crime involves the violation of federal tax laws, CI will become involved.
Examples of tax fraud cases handled by IRS Criminal Investigation include:
- Abusive return preparer enforcement
- Abusive tax schemes
- Bankruptcy fraud
- Corporate fraud
- Employment tax evasion
- Financial institution fraud
- Money laundering
- Narcotics-related investigations
- Non-filer enforcement
- Public corruption crimes
Additionally, IRS CI runs the Questionable Refund Program (QRP). This program is nationwide and focuses on identifying fraudulent tax returns, stopping payment of fraudulent returns, and identifying fraudulent refund schemes.
Yet another federal office that handles fraud cases is The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. This agency serves as the independent overseer of the IRS. It deals with fraud issues within the IRS and cases involving the impersonation of an IRS official, bribing an IRS official, and stealing tax refunds.
Is Fraud a Felony in Michigan?
Depending on the severity of the particular offense, fraud in Michigan is considered a felony. Michigan law differentiates between various types of fraud, and the penalties associated with each type of fraud can vary. Certain types of fraud, like identity theft or embezzlement, are automatically regarded as felonies regardless of the value of the property or money involved in the crime. Ultimately, it is important to understand that the specific charges and penalties associated with fraud will greatly depend on the details of the particular case.
Trusted Legal Representation in Calhoun, St. Joseph, Van Buren Counties & Throughout Southwest Michigan
If you are under investigation for bank fraud, wire fraud, or tax evasion, you need to secure competent legal representation. Alone, the accusation of fraud can destroy your personal and professional reputation. A conviction can be devastating. For over 30 years, Levine & Levine has brought clients trusted legal guidance that helps them feel confident in court. We are passionate about helping our clients restore their reputations, rights, and freedoms.
Our Kalamazoo fraud defense attorneys aren't afraid to go to court and don't back down from a fight. We treat every case with the seriousness it deserves, and we always treat our clients with respect and care. An exceptional acquittal rate backs our reputation for excellence, and we are well-respected by prosecutors and judges alike. When you face down the federal government in court, you want to have a fierce litigator by your side. You want to have Levine & Levine by your side.
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