Tax Evasion Defense

Tax Evasion Defense

An overwhelming tax debt could be hard to resolve, especially when you have accrued this debt over the years. Failing to do so could lead to serious legal consequences, at the state and federal levels. Sometimes tax evasion charges occur due to a mistake, such as a clerical error, or a simple misunderstanding. Regardless of why you have been charged with tax evasion, you will need an experienced attorney who can help you build a strong tax evasion defense, as quickly as possible. The law office of John R. Teakell is the legal firm for you. When you hire our office, you will have access to an experienced team of legal professionals who are highly qualified to take on various aspects of the law, including tax evasion.

What is Tax Evasion?

If you fail to pay your taxes, this can be considered tax evasion if you did so knowingly. It is illegal to avoid paying your taxes. If you file your taxes, but file a fraudulent tax return, this is also considered tax evasion, which is a felony, and if you are convicted of this crime, you could face time in prison, in addition to fines. A corporation convicted of tax evasion could pay up to $500,000 in fines, while an individual convicted of the same crime could pay up to $100,000 – the penalties will depend on the tax amount, and if you are being charged on the state or federal level.

There is a difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. The former occurs when you use legal methods to reduce or avoid tax payments; those legal methods include finding tax shelters or loopholes. Tax evasion is when you use illegal methods to avoid paying your taxes – or seeking reduced payment amounts.

Making a mistake is not punishable by the law if you can prove that you did in fact make an error. If this is the case, you will be required to pay the amount that you should have paid, in addition to another small fee – the fee and its amount will vary. You will not be convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to prison if you can prove that an error or mistake was made, and you could also avoid the penalties associated with a criminal trial.

Legal Consequences

If you are charged with tax evasion, you could face serious legal penalties, on both the criminal and civil level. Regardless if you are charged with state or federal tax evasion, the court must prove that criminal intent was shown. With so many tax rules, a simple mistake could happen, which is where an attorney could defend you by proving that the intent to commit fraud was never your plan.

Federal Tax Evasion

If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can show that you have deliberately attempted to underpay your taxes, you will be charged with a federal crime: tax evasion. Failing to file your tax return prevents the IRS from auditing you, or your company’s, finances. The most common example of tax evasion is underreporting income. Most individuals or businesses that are charged – and convicted of – federal tax evasion deal largely in cash, such as retail store owners, waiting staff, or beauticians (and those in the cosmetology field); however, some corporations charged with federal tax evasion report fraudulent records of their finances. Businesses have been known to inflate their expenses, while individuals overstate the size of their families in order to qualify for larger deductions.

If the IRS suspects a business or individual of committing these crimes, it will begin an investigation, which could lead to prosecution.

State Tax Evasion

Texas does not require you to pay local taxes; therefore, the main source of state revenue comes from sales tax, which is why tax evasion is a serious charge, especially for businesses in Texas who fail to pay taxes – or those who commit fraud. You must keep accurate records of your sales. Using electronic devices to falsify your records is also illegal.

Hiring an attorney with experience in state revenue gives you an added bonus. The attorney could help you find the loopholes in state law. If you are convicted of state tax evasion, you not only face jail time and a fine, but as a corporation, your sales tax permit could be suspended. In some instances, your sales tax permit could be revoked, and the state comptroller will deny any future permits.

Get the Legal Help You Need

Waiting is never a good option, especially with tax evasion charges. You want to build a strong case immediately, so you can handle the situation and avoid any jail time or costly penalties and fines. The sooner you give the law office of John R. Teakell a call, the sooner we can begin building a strong tax evasion defense for you.

Contact us today and get the legal representation you deserve!

Bank Fraud

Legal Guide

Bank Fraud

A rule of thumb in bank fraud cases and any other type of white collar criminal case is that it is critically important to contact an attorney during the earliest stages. Selecting a knowledgeable, zealous white collar criminal defense lawyer may be the best investment you ever made for your career and your future in general.

A bank or mortgage lender may allege that you submitted false documentation in connection with a loan application. The Law Office of John R. Teakell is an ideal resource for individuals facing allegations of bank fraud as well as for companies dealing with millions of dollars that could be at risk if an allegation becomes a conviction.

Former Federal Prosecutor Represents the Accused in Bank Fraud Cases

People alleged to have committed wrongdoing in the area of bank fraud may include the following:

  • Loan applicants
  • Investors
  • Brokers and dealers
  • If word has come to you that you are under investigation or are named in subpoenas related to bank fraud allegations, the time to hire an attorney to protect your rights is now. Call or e-mail the Law Office of John R. Teakell to schedule a consultation. We will discuss ways to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome:
  • Resolving allegations through civil rather than criminal remedies
  • Obtaining a dismissal of the charges
  • Negotiating a reduction of charges
  • Limiting damage to your life and career as a result of bank fraud allegations.

18 U.S.C. §1344 Bank Fraud: Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice— (1) to defraud a financial institution; or (2) to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises; shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

See also Mr. Teakell’s other Web site to learn more about the firm’s full spectrum of criminal defense practice areas. Contact the law offices to schedule a consultation.

Bank Theft, Embezzlement

Legal Brief

Bank Theft, Embezzlement

BANK THEFT AND EMBEZZLEMENT

By John Teakell

Attorney-at-Law

Dallas, Texas

Thefts and embezzlements from banks are often prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in federal court, although the dollar amounts sometimes are lower than a federal criminal case might involve. This is especially true if the allegation concerns a bank teller or lower lever employee, who may not be able to access larger amounts of money during the ordinary course of employment. The opposite would be a bank officer who engaged in transactions or withdrawals from lines of credit without authorization when the loss amount may be a high-five figure amount (e.g., $90,000) or a six-figure amount (e.g. $500,000).

The federal stature governing this conduct, Title 18 U.S. Code §656 reads:

Whoever, being an officer, director, agent or employee of, or connected in any capacity with any Federal Reserve bank, member bank, depository institution holding company, national bank, insured bank, branch or agency of a foreign bank, or organization operating under section 25 or section 25(a) [1]of the Federal Reserve Act, or a receiver of a national bank, insured bank, branch, agency, or organization or any agent or employee of the receiver, or a Federal Reserve Agent, or an agent or employee of a Federal Reserve Agent or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, embezzles, abstracts, purloins or willfully misapplies any of the moneys, funds or credits of such bank, branch, agency, or organization or holding company or any moneys, funds, assets or securities intrusted to the custody or care of such bank, branch, agency, or organization, or holding company or to the custody or care of any such agent, officer, director, employee or receiver, shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both; but if the amount embezzled, abstracted, purloined or misapplied does not exceed $1,000, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Bribery Federal Contract Fraud

Legal Guide

Bribery / Federal Contract Fraud

Abuse of federal contract has become the focal point in national media. In fact the growing concerns about bribery, federal contract fraud and abuse have led to arrays of investigations of various government contracts in Dallas and all across United States. The criminal defense lawyer John. R. Teakell is committed to provide effective representation to the businesses and people facing investigations in Dallas for their work under government contracts.

Before delving further about how the best criminal defense attorney in Dallas can help let us first understand about the reasons for a federal investigation

Reasons for a Federal Investigation

Every case of bribery and federal contract fraud is different. However below are few of the major instances for which people may find themselves dragged in a government investigation in Dallas.

Fraud: Fraud allegations typically arise when there are question marks involved regarding the contractor’s qualification. The law for

criminal defense has been framed in such a way that any question about education, experience or professional licenses of the contractor may lead to Federal contract investigations and is typically tagged as fraud allegations.

Bribery: Bribery allegations may arise in Dallas when an individual is accused of providing unlawful incentives (in cash, gifts and vacation) to the government official for the greater purpose of getting selected for a contract.

Abuse: The Federal contractors may also find themselves under scanner of the investigators in Dallas when suspected of abusing their administrational power within the community for winning a contract.

Consequences Of Suspected For Bribery And Federal Contract Fraud

Consequences Of Suspected For Bribery and Federal Contract Fraud

Sad but true; if government suspects there is an issue of fraud, bribery and abuse with contractor or even with the contract an investigation will be initiated.

For the uninitiated; federal investigation may lead to an array of consequences. These consequences may include

  • Cancellation of the contract by the Federal Government
  • Calling the contractor for refunding the government payments
  • Imposition of fines
  • Administrative actions (it can prohibit the contractor from working with the state and Federal government in the future)
  • Criminal prosecution (it may include fees and time in jail)

How John. R. Teakell the criminal defense attorney in Dallas can help

John. R. Teakell – one of the most sought after criminal defense attorney values the fact that allegations of misconduct can have a serious effect on your business. It may also affect your life as well as the lives of your employees. This is when you need legal support

and representation from the best attorney. Teakell is committed to provide tailored and personalized representation to his clients facing Bribery / Federal Contract Fraud investigation as the Federal contractor in Dallas. Teakell began his career as an Assistant District Attorney and worked as a Senior Trial Counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where he prosecuted civil enforcement actions of fraudulent schemes.

In addition to fraud cases, Teakell prosecuted all types of federal crimes in the Northern District of Texas. He also prosecuted extraordinarily large drug trafficking and money laundering cases as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Puerto Rico, as well as federal death penalty cases.

The goal is simple – to work with you in order to stop the investigation in the track thus prevent the filing of any criminal charges whenever possible. If in case that is not possible the criminal defense lawyer will use his skill, legal knowledge and understanding of the specific law for defending your rights and for protecting your livelihood.

There is no hiding from the fact that Federal investigation can have serious consequences however the expert in criminal defense law will work with you to minimize the impact of federal investigation in Dallas

Stop suffering in silence. Meet John. R. Teakell for a consultation

Forgery

Legal Guide

Forgery

A fundamental key to a successful defense in a forgery case is the representation by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The earlier in the case that the attorney is on board, the more options there will be and the greater likelihood there is for an outcome that will be satisfactory to both the accused person and the alleged wronged party.

Contact the Law Office of John R. Teakell to learn how attorney Teakell’s knowledge and experience can be put to work in your Texas forgery criminal case. Schedule an initial consultation at which you and Mr. Teakell will devise the next best course of action after you have been accused of or arrested for forgery (by way of a forged document or a forged signature) anywhere across the state.

There are a number of possible defenses that may result in dismissal of charges, reduction of charges, acquittal or reduction of penalties in a forgery case, including the following:

  • Demonstration of a compelling case for an alternative explanation of how a check was forged or how apparent credit card fraud occurred
  • Agreement for restitution of allegedly stolen money obtained apparently obtained by forging a check
  • Mitigating factors
  • Demonstration that evidence presented by the prosecution is inadequate, inconclusive, or obtained by illegal means
  • Showing a lack of intent to commit forgery

Forgery May Mean Counterfeiting, Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud or Bank Fraud

At the federal level, forgery charges are often articulated as charges of mail fraud, wire fraud or bank fraud in federal court. Forgery charges may be brought alongside charges of counterfeiting, as in schemes whereby treasury checks are forged as well as endorsement of the essentially counterfeit checks.

Experienced Federal Prosecutor

Attorney John Teakell is a former federal prosecutor with in-depth knowledge of the components of a successful prosecution ― and an understanding of how to construct effective defense in the face of allegations of forgery. Call or e-mail attorney Teakell sooner rather than later to schedule a preliminary case review.

18 U.S.C. §471 Whoever, with intent to defraud, falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, or alters any obligation or other security of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Insurance Fraud

Legal Guide

Insurance Fraud

The Law Office of John R. Teakell in Dallas, Texas, is a valuable resource for patients or health care providers who have been charged with insurance fraud in Texas. Typical scenarios of insurance fraud include the following:

  • Presenting false information in connection with claims for benefits
  • Submitting falsified or undocumented claims for Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement
  • Obtaining insurance through fraudulent misrepresentation on applications for insurance
  • Presenting claims for repair or replacement of real properties that were deliberately destroyed by the insured consumer by way of arson

If you have been charged with insurance fraud in Texas, you are strongly encouraged to contact a lawyer right away. Attorney John Teakell is a former federal prosecutor who understands the importance of the lawyer’s role in defending someone (either a health care provider or patient) who has been charged with health care fraud.

Health care fraud often falls under the umbrella of mail fraud or wire fraud as defined by federal statutes. It is the obligation of the prosecution to prove that a defendant is guilty as charged. It is the role of the defense attorney to protect the accused from unfounded or inadequately documented claims of criminal behavior including fraud.

The Law Office of John R, Teakell has achieved positive results on behalf of a number of clients facing fraud charges. Depending on the strength of the government’s case, these results may be a dismissal of the charges, an acquittal at trial, or a reduction in the penalties. Before seeking any type of plea agreement, Attorney Teakell will fully review the evidence and make sure that the government will be able to prove their case.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), signed by President Clinton in 1996, targets fraud in federal programs such as Medicare as well as in private health care, defining the crime of health care fraud to mean “knowingly and willfully” defrauding any health care benefit program. It also names as federal crimes the following: making false statements “in any matter involving a health care benefit program,” theft or embezzlement, obstruction of investigations and money laundering.

Mail Fraud

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is certainly one of more prevalent forms of criminal deception, accounting for almost one third of all consumer fraud. Cited as any illegal, fraudulent act utilizing the United States Postal Service, or affiliate mail carrier, mail fraud conviction seeks to improve upon the penalties for the criminal activity, justified by the involvement of and exploitation of the US Postal Service in the crime (regardless of the level of involvement). Mail fraud statutes have even been extended to commercial/private mail carriers.

The US Code states that if those involved in a plan to defraud, deceive, counterfeit, etc., places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, uses the Postal Service that person shall be:

  • Fined, imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.
  • If a financial institution is affected, than the penalty is a significant fine of not more than $1,000,000, and imprisonment for not more than 30 years, or both.
  • Even if one just uses a fictitious name or address, the offense is punishable by a fine and up to five years in prison.

What is Mail Fraud?

Fraudulent misrepresentations and schemes to defraud which use the United States mail to further that fraudulent conduct, can be prosecuted as “mail fraud.”

The United States Attorney’s Office will seek an Indictment (a charging document formally charging the person with a crime) for mail fraud when the prosecution believes it has evidence of any fraud scheme that uses the mail systems to make that fraud scheme function.

Stop! If you have been accused of bank fraud, get mail fraud representation now by contacting me here for a 100% free appointment to evaluate your case of defense. Your first meeting to discuss your options is free. If only researching this subject, please continue reading.

There is no specific requirement for the type of fraudulent scheme that has to be alleged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, only that there is some kind of fraud or misrepresentation wherein the U.S. mails or commercial carriers are used to mail an item related to the scheme, such as a check, a contract, an application for credit, property valuations, etc.

Originally, the mail fraud statute required some type of use of the U.S. mail; now, the statute requires the use of either the U.S. mail or any mail carrier in an attempt to carry out the fraud.

The United States Code contains federal crimes that are prosecuted by the Department of Justice or its field offices, the United States Attorney’s Offices, in respective districts in the different states. Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, is titled Frauds and Swindles, and it is commonly referred to as the “mail fraud” statute. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1341 reads as follows (in summary):

MAIL FRAUD DEFINITION AND PUNISHMENT

Whoever

1) having devised, or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud,

or

2) for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan…

3) something of value or some item…and

4) places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter

5) any item to be delivered by interstate carrier

shall be fined …or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.

SUCCESSFUL MAIL FRAUD DEFENSE CASE(S)

INVESTIGATION CLOSED / NO INDICTMENT – Federal investigation in the Eastern District of Texas for bank fraud and mail fraud. The United States Attorney’s Office declined in 2006 to seek an Indictment in an investigation of alleged fraud by a travel agency after “9/11” created restricted booking availability abroad. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to proceed after defense counsel presentations.

Contact John R. Teakell for a Free Initial Consultation

For a free consultation and case evaluation, contact white collar crime defense lawyer John R. Teakell today. Mr. Teakell is well-known for his successful trial record, numerous television appearances, including on Court TV, and for being named as a Texas Super Lawyer by “Texas Monthly” magazine. Texas Super Lawyers are those lawyers who are named as among the top 5 percent of all Texas lawyers in their area of practice.

If you or a loved one has been accused of alleged mail fraud, contact mail fraud defense attorney John Teakell for your 100% free consultation by submitting your information here.

 

Money Laundering

Money Laundering

People charged with money laundering in the Dallas-Fort Worth area or anywhere in the state of Texas are encouraged to seek the counsel of attorney John R. Teakell. Mr. Teakell has amassed a significant amount of experience, achieving favorable outcomes for defendants in money laundering cases.

If you face money laundering charges, or if you have reason to believe that an investigation is underway that may lead to an arrest for money laundering in Texas or elsewhere, contact the Law Office of John R. Teakell, white collar criminal defense law firm, to schedule a consultation to meet attorney John Teakell with no further obligation.

Money Laundering is Often Associated with Other Crimes

Money laundering charges can be brought at either the state or federal level. These charges are often brought in connection with alleged activities involving controlled substances. Drug crimes may be hard to prove and prosecute, but accompanying offenses such as wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering are frequently used as legal dragnets by which to bring criminal charges against people alleged to be involved in narcotics trafficking.

The Government Must Prove their Case or It Must be Dismissed

Attorney John Teakell is a former federal prosecutor who has successfully defended many people charged with money laundering and related crimes. One example of a favorable outcome involved charges brought by the state of Texas in Kleberg County, Texas. The firm’s client was arrested and investigated for alleged money laundering. After Mr. Teakell’s defense presentation, the state agreed not to seek an indictment on the basis of forfeiture issues.

Discover the most plausible defense in your money laundering case. Contact John R. Teakell at the Law Office of John R. Teakell in Dallas to schedule a no-obligation consultation and preliminary case analysis.

Mortage Fraud

Legal Guide

Mortgage Fraud

MORTGAGE FRAUD CRIMES IN FEDERAL COURT

I. Generally

“Mortgage fraud” as it is generally called, is prosecuted in federal court as a felony offense that usually involves misrepresentations to a bank or other lender, or to a mortgage broker, real estate agent or seller of real estate. The ending result in a mortgage fraud case usually is a loss of monies by a lender on a foreclosure of the property due to the fact that: 1) the property was purchased without a real intent by the purchaser to move into the residence; 2) the borrower was a “straw borrower” or “straw purchaser” who was paid a nominal amount to represent himself as the borrower, when in fact he was listed as the title owner of the property yet did not intend to live in or take responsibility for the property; and/or 3) there is a “flip” or re-sale or double sale that is not represented or disclosed to the lender, which involves the fraudulent inflation of the property purchase price in order to facilitate the second sale to allow the purchaser (who becomes the seller immediately thereafter) to gain a significant amount of monies at closing that is not disclosed to the lender.

There are variations of these scenarios, but these are the most common ones found in mortgage fraud cases. These cases are investigated and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, that is, the federal prosecutor’s office.

II. Charges

Although the phrase “mortgage fraud” is commonly used by law enforcement, attorneys and the public, there is not a specific charge or offense in the federal criminal code that alleges “mortgage fraud.” Usually, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will seek an Indictment charging either one of these offenses or a combination of them:

  • 1) Bank Fraud – Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1344;
  • 2) Mail Fraud – Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1341;
  • 3) Wire Fraud – Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1343;
  • 4) Conspiracy to Commit Fraud – Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1349; and/or
  • 5) Money Laundering – Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 1956 and/or 1957.

III. Indictments

Indictments charging criminal offenses in federal court are “returned” by a federal grand jury after the U.S. Attorney’s Office presents enough evidence to establish that probable cause exists to believe that a fraud involving real estate was committed. Once an Indictment is returned (meaning the target of the investigation, now the “defendant” is formally charged), there will be court appearances before the U.S. Magistrate Judge and the U.S. District Judge.

When an Indictment is returned, a warrant will issue from the U.S. District Clerk’s Office, and the Defendant will be arrested by federal agents. In lieu of an arrest, if a target of the investigation, or a Defendant (so named as a defendant when the Indictment is returned formally charging the person), has an attorney who has been in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the court may issue a summons that commands the Defendant to appear, rather than an arrest. Also, a Defendant whose attorney has contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office may be allowed to surrender on the warrant without being arrested at his/her residence or place of employment.

IV. Investigations

Mortgage fraud investigations focus on properties that usually result in foreclosure and/or some type of monetary loss to the lender and or others. Purchasers who flip a house utilizing misrepresentations of fact regarding the origin of the down payment, their financial status or the financial status of a straw borrower, the occupancy status as a primary residence, are targeted for prosecution. The straw borrowers can also be prosecuted due to the fact that these people engaged in misrepresentations to the lender and others, even though they are usually not the orchestrators of mortgage fraud schemes. Loan brokers and real estate appraisers can be targeted and prosecuted for such participation, with appraisers mostly involved in fraudulently inflating the subject real estate values to facilitate the inflated second sale, or flip.

V. Negotiations, Trial, and U.S. District Court

Please see the Federal Criminal Process within the site for an explanation as to the federal criminal procedures in these types of cases.

VI. Sentencing

Any person convicted of fraud or other charges in federal courts is subject to a sentence that is largely controlled, or at least influenced, by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The Sentencing Guidelines are a “point system” that is driven to a good degree in fraud or white-collar crime cases by the dollar amounts. That is, the higher the dollar amount of the fraud or the loss, then the more points that are added onto a defendant for Sentencing Guidelines purposes. Other enhancements, such as use of sophisticated means, and/or abuse of a position of skill or trust, are commonly assessed in fraud cases. The U.S. District Judge makes the final determination of a sentence, taking into consideration the recommendation punishment range from the calculations of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Cooperators with the U.S. government can be rewarded in the form of a sentence reduction, if the Defendant provides substantial cooperation.

Passport Fraud

Legal Guide

Passport Fraud

Generally The term “passport fraud” is a phrase that is used to generally describe misrepresentations in applications for a passport or visa, as well as some misuse of the passport or visa. Violations of federal law for passport fraud and related charges are found at Title 18, U.S. Code, §§1541 – 1547, which are:

  • A. Issuance Without Authority (government official issuing or verifying a passport without authority or to a person with no allegiance to the United States) 18 U.S.C. §1541;
  • B. False Statement in Application and Use of a Passport (when a person submits false information on a passport application for his own use or use by another) 18 U.S.C. §1542;
  • C. Forgery of False Use of a Passport (when a person forges, counterfeits, or alters a passport, or gives a forged, counterfeited, or altered passport to another person for his use) 18 U.S.C. §1543;
  • D. Misuse of a Passport (when a person uses a passport designed for another person, or uses a passport in violation of the restrictions on it) 18 U.S.C. §1544;
  • E. Safe Conduct Violation (violation of a safe conduct permit granting passage into an area or a country where the person could not go without the permission of the government) 18 U.S.C. §1545;
  • F. Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and Other Documents (whoever forges, counterfeits, or alters an immigration document for the use of entry into the United States) 18 U.S.C. §1546;
  • G. Alternate Imprisonment Maximum (to facilitate drug trafficking or terrorism) 18 U.S.C. §1547.

II. Fraud, Misuse, and False Statements

Activities that are the underlying basis for these types of charges are often the passport applicant making a false statement in the application in order to obtain a passport for travel. It also involves obtaining, or attempting to obtain, a passport for another person or group of persons, after the applicant has made false statements about the identities, location, or criminal history of the person whose name is submitted for a passport. Obtaining a passport in this manner, or attempting to do so, can be for the purpose of concealing one’s true identity to avoid detection or to ensure passage to another country. Such falsities may be tied to illegal drug trafficking or other illegal smuggling of goods, or even to terrorists.

III. Charges

Potential charges for these offenses would be the passport/visa fraud statutes listed above, and it could also include a conspiracy to commit these acts if two or more persons agreed to commit a passport crime. It could then be charged as a conspiracy pursuant to Title 18, U.S. Code §371. Such a conspiracy might also be charged as a Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, or Wire Fraud, under Title 18, U.S. Code §1349.

IV. Indictments

Indictments charging criminal violations of these passport laws are obtained through a federal grand jury by the United States Attorney’s Office or a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, as in any federal criminal case. Any person indicted is subject to arrest by the investigating agency or by the U.S. Marshal’s Service, unless the person makes arrangements through his attorney to self-surrender.

V. Investigations

Since passports are obtained through the U.S. Department of State, usually agents from the Department of State conduct such investigations. Federal agents investigating criminal violations related to passports or visas work with the federal prosecutor, the U.S. Attorney, for advice and to obtain formal charges, i.e., an Indictment. If there is a lone violation of one person’s own passport application, or similar conduct, as opposed to larger-scale violations, the U.S. Attorney’s Office could refer the case to the state prosecutor (District Attorney) where the offense occurred.

VI. Sentencing

Any person convicted of a passport fraud or misrepresentation offense in federal court, will be subject to the same type of sentencing as in other federal case. These sentencings are the result of recommendations by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, that is, the “point system” that provides a recommended punishment range.