Federal Crimes

Federal crimes are offenses that violate U.S. federal laws, and they in large part derive from Title 18 and Title 26 of the United States Code. The federal government is the most powerful organization in the world, and it has the money and resources to conduct a lengthy, invasive, and thorough investigation against you. Federal criminal offenses are investigated by numerous federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Following federal investigations by these agencies, cases that result in indictment are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in federal court, and they often come with harsh penalties.

If you are being investigated for a federal offense, have been summoned to a federal grand jury, or have been arrested on a federal charge, you need a criminal defense attorney experienced in dealing with federal crimes. Defense attorney Robert Foley is a retired FBI Special Agent, and he will bring his in-depth knowledge of federal criminal law and decades of federal criminal investigative work to your defense. Call Robert Foley today for a free, confidential initial consultation.

Federal crimes handled by the Robert Foley Law Firm include:

  • Bank Fraud: Federal law provides a broad definition of bank fraud that covers any scheme or use of deception intended to defraud a financial institution or obtain something of value that a financial institution controls. Writing bad checks, check kiting, printing fake cashier’s checks, and certifying false documents or false information to secure a loan can all be classified as bank fraud. If a bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the federal criminal justice system has jurisdiction over all cases relating to that bank.

  • Bank Robbery: Despite huge risk, most bank robbers do not believe they will be caught, and they continue to rob, often on the same day—using the same or similar disguises, signatures, trademarks, and notes to the teller. As a result, these common themes often lead to apprehension. The FBI takes on a major role in bank robbery investigations. Once robbers are arrested, multiple witnesses, surveillance images, and physical evidence contribute to high prosecution and conviction rates. Federal sentencing guidelines lead to lengthy prison sentences for bank robbery, and if weapons are present during the robbery, the sentence is even longer.
  • Conspiracy: A criminal conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an unlawful act. The essence of this offense lies in the agreement. If there is no agreement, there can be no conspiracy. The agreement can be made in any manner and for any purpose, and the co-conspirators do not have to know all of the details of the planned unlawful act or even the identities of the other co-conspirators. However, all co-conspirators do have to know and at least implicitly agree to a basic illegal purpose. Many conspiracies involve people who have never heard of or dealt with one another directly, but they are ultimately connected through other members and through a common goal to commit a crime. It is important to note that a single one-time agreement can only establish one conspiracy, even if the co-conspirators have several criminal objectives. In addition, for a criminal conspiracy to exist, at least one co-conspirator must take overt action in furtherance of the conspiracy.The general federal conspiracy statute is 18 U.S.C. § 371. Conspiracies to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, health care fraud, and securities fraud are prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1349. Drug crimes are prosecuted under 21 U.S.C. § 846, which makes it illegal to commit a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. 18 U.S.C. § 1951 prohibits committing a robbery of any article in interstate commerce, and it contains its own conspiracy provision.
  • Cyber Crimes: Cyber crimes are criminal offenses committed via the internet or otherwise aided by computer technology. One of the top cyber crimes is identity theft, which occurs when someone unlawfully obtains another’s personal information and uses it to commit theft or fraud. A second major source of cyber crime indictments are internet sex crimes, including solicitation (using the internet to advertise or to pay for the services of a prostitute), solicitation of a minor (using the internet to lure a minor into an in-person meeting with the intention of engaging in sexual activity), internet lewdness (subjecting a minor to verbal or graphic sexual content via the internet), and possession or distribution of child pornography.Cyber crimes are treated seriously in the federal criminal justice system, and penalties can be harsh. Eight different federal departments as well as several law enforcement agencies are involved in federal cyber enforcement, with the FBI as the lead investigating agency. If the federal government alleges that you have been involved in a cyber crime, it is very likely that your home has been searched and your computers seized. Warrants allowing such searches and seizures are often the starting point for a good criminal defense lawyer in defending your case. If you are alleged to have committed an internet crime, call Robert Foley, an experienced criminal defense attorney and retired FBI agent, for an immediate consultation.
  • Federal Drug Crimes: Federal drug offenses differ from those at the state level even though the conduct in question may be the same. Federal drug crimes, including trafficking, smuggling and conspiracy, often carry severe mandatory minimum sentences.
  • Federal Property Crime: A federal property crime is a crime that takes place on federally owned property, such as a post office, park, or military facility. If you are involved in a theft or other seemingly minor offense that takes place on federal property, you will be charged under
    federal law.
  • Fraud against the Government: Fraud against the government can take many different forms including mail fraud, wire fraud, making false claims or statements, and conspiracy to defraud the government. Such offenses may relate to federal or federally-funded entitlement programs (Medicare, Social Security, public housing programs, agricultural programs, etc.), educational programs, federal government contracting, defense procurement, or corporate fraud. Laws pertaining to government fraud are contained in Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 1341 (mail fraud), Sections 1341 and 1343 (wire fraud), Section 1001 (false statements), Section 287 (false claims), and Section 371 (conspiracy to defraud the government).
  • Identity Theft: Identity theft is the crime of using another person’s identifying information to commit theft or fraud. Many different types of personal information can be used to commit identity theft, including not only names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers but also
    addresses, telephone numbers, passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, passport numbers, birth and death certificates, and biometric data such as fingerprints and iris scans.

    Congress has passed two laws specifically addressing identity theft:

    • The 1998 Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, which prohibits knowingly transferring or using another person’s means of identification with the intent to commit, aid, or abet activity that violates federal law or is a felony under local or state law.
    • The 2004 Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, which established penalties for “aggravated” identity theft—defined as using another person’s identity to commit a felony. This can include immigration violations, theft of Social Security benefits, and acts of domestic terrorism. The act requires courts to sentence offenders to two additional years for general aggravated identity theft offenses and five years for offenses classified as terrorism.


In 2017, 16.7 million people became victims of identity fraud, marking an all-time high that broke the record set just the previous year. In 2018, the amount of money stolen through identity fraud hit $16.8 billion. 30 percent of U.S. consumers were notified of exposure to a data breach, whereas just in 2016, that number was 12 percent. For the first time, as complex new identity fraud schemes emerged, more Social Security numbers than credit card numbers were exposed.

For these reasons, identity theft has caught the attention of the federal government, and it is throwing substantial resources at  investigating and prosecuting identity crime. If you are convicted of this crime, you may face heavy fines and years in prison. The Robert Foley Law Firm is highly knowledgeable and experienced in defending those wrongly accused of identity theft, and we will work tirelessly to defend your case.

  • Mail and Wire Fraud: “Mail and wire fraud” is the federal government’s safety net for catching federal criminal fraud charges. When a specific federal statute applying an offense is not available, the Feds can, in certain circumstances, use this catch-all to charge someone who
    facilitated a fraud by depositing a check or using the United States postal service, telephone, email, or fax. Mailing anything using UPS, Fed Ex, or other interstate carrier likewise makes you susceptible to a charge of mail fraud.
  • Tax Fraud: Tax fraud occurs when a person intentionally misrepresents or omits information on a tax return. The United States tax code, 26 U.S. Code Section 7201, provides that any person who willfully attempts to evade the payment of any tax is guilty of a felony. A person convicted of this offense may be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to 5 years in prison. A corporation found guilty of the offense can be fined $500,000. The violation is proven by showing the existence of a tax deficiency (an unpaid federal tax); an affirmative act of evasion or attempted evasion of either the assessment or payment of the tax; and willfulness on the part of the offender. A genuine, good faith belief that one is not violating federal tax law as the result of a misunderstanding of the law’s complexities is a defense against “willfulness,” even if the belief is irrational or unreasonable. A belief that the federal income tax is invalid or unconstitutional, however, is not a defense, even if that belief is genuine and held in good faith.

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