Conspiracy To Commit Fraud

A Frequent Charge Used In Federal White­‐Collar Cases

John Teakell
Law Office Of John R. Teakell
DALLAS, TX

I. Introduction

A conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more persons to commit an illegal act, with at least one conspirator attempting to commit an overt act that would further the object of conspiracy. The use of the conspiracy charge is much more common in federal court, as a lesser participant in a fraud scheme can be held criminally liable if there is less direct evidence of his/her involvement.

II. Federal Conspiracy For Fraud

The federal statute conspiracy statute specifically alleging fraud, that is, material misrepresentations of fact, is found in Title 18, specifically 18 U.S. Code §1349, Conspiracy to Commit Fraud. This statute provides three different underlying federal offenses as the object of the conspiracy. These underlying offenses/allegations in §1349 are:

  • 1) Bank Fraud, 18 U.S. Code §1344;
  • 2) Mail Fraud, 18 U.S. Code §1341; and
  • 3) Wire Fraud, 18 U.S. Code §1343.

Their respective statue of limitations is dependent upon the underlying fraud allegation statute, that is, these fraud states listed here. Bank Fraud has a statute of ten (10) years, which would then increase the statute of limitations under §1349 to ten (10) years, while Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud conspiracies alleged under §1349 are five (5) years for statute of limitations, because Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud have the five (5) years as a statute of limitations.

III. Traditional Conspiracy Charge

The Conspiracy practice area listed in this website lists the “traditional” or original conspiracy, charge used for drug trafficking cases and a variety of federal cases. It is found at Title 18, U.S. Code §371, and it can be used for all types of crimes where the prosecutor believes that there is evidence of a conspiracy.