False Claims Act Defense
Lying to a government agency or to federal agents may lead you to criminal prosecution. Norman Spencer Law Group federal criminal law practice concentrates on defending clients facing federal criminal charges, including making false claims or statements. We are good at what we do. Read on this short article to know more about the crime of false statements and what we can do to help.
The False Claims Statute
Making false claims is a federal crime under the false statement statute 18 U.S.C. Section 1001. This statute has three separate laws. First, the statute prohibits the making of a false statement within the jurisdiction of a federal agency. Second, it prohibits the use of a fraudulent document, containing false statements. Thirds, it prohibits the concealment of facts which the law requires one to disclose to a federal agency.
The Actual False Claims Statement
The first aspect of the statute is the most self-explanatory. Federal prosecutors make the most use of it. You commit a federal crime if you make any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations to a federal agency. To secure a conviction, the prosecutor will need to prove several things. First, they need to prove that you knowingly made a false statement or representation to a government agency. Second, the false claim is related to a material matter, not something irrelevant. Finally, they have to show that you acted willfully and with knowledge of the falsity.
The statement may be in the form or a form submitted to the government, such as a Medicare claim form, a tax return, or an application for a visa or passport. However, it doesn’t have to be a government form. You can make a false statement by submitting a letter and even orally if you lie to federal law enforcement. Moreover, one may be in violation of the law by failing to make a statement if that could mislead the government official reviewing the document.
False Claims of False Representations
The false statement statute also covers false representations, so the actual statement may be true, but at the same time so misleading that it can become a false representation.
What Does Material Statement Mean?
As mentioned above, the statement must be material. “Material” is not the same as “false”. A material statement is a statement that has the ability to influence the government decision-maker who is reviewing the presentation containing the false statement. It’s important to understand that it doesn’t matter that a specific false statement actually did or did not influence anyone. As long as it had the capacity to do so, you may have made the false statement.
Defending Against False Claims or Statements Charges
The issue of whether the false statement is material comes up often in federal government program fraud prosecutions. Prosecutors always argue that the statement is material. Our job is to determine if it is so.
For example, say you submit a document to a government agency for review. The document contains a false statement. The question is whether or not the reviewer (who is the decision-maker) actually thinks that the answers are important.
Many times they don’t for various reasons. Regardless of what the prosecutor may think, many times the government agencies disregard certain statements as irrelevant or unimportant. That makes the statements immaterial.
At other times, a form may ask a question, and the reviewer may think that the answer is important. However, the actual given answer, although false, is “true enough,” and so it may not be material.
Norman Spencer Law Group federal criminal attorneys are your best choice if you face federal criminal false statement charges.
Making False Claims
There is one important distinction between the false statement statute and other federal statutes. Under the false statement statute, you don’t have to actually submit the false statement to a federal agency. You can be guilty even for making the statement within the jurisdiction of that agency.
Here is the example. Say, you have a document that contains a false statement, which you never submitted to a federal agency. However, this document is subject to audit or review by the agency. Or, you may use it in a business transaction where the agency pays money. You may be making a false statement without submitting the document to the agency.
Why Norman Spencer Is Your Best Choice
Defending criminal cases is more difficult than prosecuting them. It requires a different set of skills and a lot of creative power. Our criminal federal lawyers were never prosecutors. We spent our entire careers defending clients in the most difficult circumstances, including false claims.
Besides experience, we have a team that consists of experts in many fields. We work with forensic accountants, billing and coding experts, certified fraud examiners, and retired law enforcement agents. When we examine your case, we will be able to identify key issues and come up with the most effective strategies to defend you.
We are located in New York but represent clients in federal criminal cases across the country. Please feel free to call us to discuss your matter with us.