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False Statement

FEDERAL LAWS ABOUT MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS

Making a false statement is a federal crime punishable by a prison sentence.

Making a false statement is among the most common crime charged by federal prosecutors. Federal law criminalizes making a false statement, among others, to:

  • Federal investigators,
  • Financial institutions,
  • During bankruptcy proceedings,
  • In a passport application,
  • In an application to purchase a firearm.

Thus, it is important not to speak with federal investigators without first consulting with a criminal defense lawyer. Oftentimes, investigators may not have a strong case to prosecute. However, if a suspect provides false or misleading information, that may be enough to indict the suspect.

Making a false statement is a federal felony that carries significant prison exposure. What may be deemed the proverbial “white lie,” can lead to someone spending years in federal prison.

Experienced Representation for High Stakes Cases

Federal prosecutors have enormous investigative power and resources at their disposal. Consequently, a suspect will need to enlist the help of an experienced federal crimes defense lawyer who can scrutinize the government's case and provide and provide options. Hiring an inexperienced attorney may cause irreparable harm to your case and future.

Attorney John D. Rogers is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. His experience is verified by the state bar licensing authority. His primary concern is to protect his client's freedom and avoid all devasting collateral consequences. He stands prepared to intervene at any stage of the criminal justice process in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County, and San Diego.

Different Ways Making a False Statement in Federally Charged

False Statement in Firearm Acquisition 

18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6) makes it a crime to knowingly make a false statement to acquire a firearm from a licensed dealer.[1] This can occur by not revealing a prior felony conviction or falsifying the identity of the actual buyer of the gun. A conviction carries a federal prison sentence of up to 10 years.  

False Statement in a Passport Application

Making a false statement in a passport application is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1542.[2] It makes it a crime to willfully and knowingly make any false statement in an application for a passport with the intent to induce or secure the issuance under the authority of the United States. A conviction for a first or second-time offender carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. If this offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, then it carries a 20-year prison sentence.

False Statement to a Financial Institution

Making a false statement to a financial institution is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1014.[3] It makes it a crime to knowingly make a false statement to influence financing. This may apply to bank loan applications, small business administration, application(s) for credit lines, or overvaluing assets. A conviction carries a federal prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

False Statement in Bankruptcy Proceedings

18 U.S.C. § 152 governs the charges of making a false statement in a bankruptcy proceeding.[4] The rationale for providing false information in a bankruptcy proceeding is that the debtor must produce honest and complete financial records. The crime can occur by testifying falsely, submitting a declaration containing false information, or making a false representation concerning their assets. An omission of assets by the debtor in a bankruptcy petition will violate this section since the debtor concealed their assets. A conviction is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison.

False Statement to a Federal Agent

Providing false information or knowingly concealing material information from government agents is a felony charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1001.[5] Although it is commonly charged in connection with a civil or criminal investigation, Section 1001 applies to all three bodies of the government – executive, legislative, and judicial branches. A conviction carries a federal sentence of up to 5 years in federal prison.

Examples of Making a False Statement

  • Knowingly providing false documents to federal agents in a criminal investigation.
  • You write in an application for a handgun that you have no criminal record, but you suffer from a felony conviction in state court over 20 years ago.
  • Submitting fictitious financials to a bank to secure a business or personal loan.
  • Representing that you are a U.S. citizen in a passport application when you only have legal residency status.

Related Offenses to False Statement

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 making it a crime to electronically transmit something to facilitate a fraudulent scheme. It carries up to 20 or 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. If the fraud was against a financial institution, the fine amount might be up to $1,000,000 for each offense. 

Bank Fraud

Bank fraud occurs when a defendant uses deception to obtain money or property from a lending institution. It is written into statute under 18 U.S.C. § 1344. A conviction is punishable with a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000, and full repayment of any lost money.

Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud, also known as real estate fraud, may be accomplished by submitting falsified records to a financial institution or giving false information on a mortgage loan application. Mortgage fraud carries up to 30 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and the Court will order restitution.

Bankruptcy Fraud

Bankruptcy fraud is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 157, and it involves misrepresenting, concealing, or inaccurate reporting of property. It is not uncommon to be charged with tax fraud, perjury, wire fraud, identity theft, and conspiracy as well. It is penalized in federal prison for up to 20 years with a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count.

Aggravated Identity Theft

Aggravated identity theft is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A making it a crime to use the personal identifying information of another without their consent. It carries a 2-year federal prison sentence that must run consecutively with any other charge(s).

Consult with an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

You must act quickly when faced with serious federal charges. Mounting a defense at the earliest stages of the investigation can mean the difference between spending time in prison or having your case rejected entirely from prosecution. Call us today to speak with an experienced Orange County federal crimes attorney. Contact us today to schedule a risk-free consultation. We can help provide you with options and navigate you through this unfamiliar system.

LEGAL FOOTNOTES

[1] 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6) – defined (“It shall be unlawful for any person in connection with the acquisition or attempted acquisition of any firearm or ammunition from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, knowingly to make any false or fictitious oral or written statement or to furnish or exhibit any false, fictitious, or misrepresented identification, intended or likely to deceive such importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of such firearm or ammunition under the provisions of this chapter”).

[2] 18 U.S.C. § 1542 – defined (“Whoever willfully and knowingly makes any false statement in an application for passport with intent to induce or secure the issuance of a passport under the authority of the United States, either for his own use or the use of another, contrary to the laws regulating the issuance of passports or the rules prescribed pursuant to such laws; or Whoever willfully and knowingly uses or attempts to use, or furnishes to another for use any passport the issue of which was secured in any way by reason of any false statement—Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 25 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism (as defined in section 2331 of this title)), 20 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (as defined in section 929(a) of this title)), 10 years (in the case of the first or second such offense, if the offense was not committed to facilitate such an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime), or 15 years (in the case of any other offense), or both.”).

[3] 18 U.S.C. § 1014 – defined (“Whoever knowingly makes any false statement or report, or willfully overvalues any land, property or security, for the purpose of influencing in any way the action of the Federal Housing Administration, the Farm Credit Administration, Federal Crop Insurance Corporation or a company the Corporation reinsures, the Secretary of Agriculture acting through the Farmers Home Administration or successor agency, the Rural Development Administration or successor agency, any Farm Credit Bank, production credit association, agricultural credit association, bank for cooperatives, or any division, officer, or employee thereof, or of any regional agricultural credit corporation established pursuant to law, or a Federal land bank, a Federal land bank association, a Federal Reserve bank, a small business investment company, as defined in section 103 of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. 662), or the Small Business Administration in connection with any provision of that Act, a Federal credit union, an insured State-chartered credit union, any institution the accounts of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation,,[1] any Federal home loan bank, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation, or the National Credit Union Administration Board, a branch or agency of a foreign bank (as such terms are defined in paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 1(b) of the International Banking Act of 1978), an organization operating under section 25 or section 25(a) [2] of the Federal Reserve Act, or a mortgage lending business, or any person or entity that makes in whole or in part a federally related mortgage loan as defined in section 3 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, upon any application, advance, discount, purchase, purchase agreement, repurchase agreement, commitment, loan, or insurance agreement or application for insurance or a guarantee, or any change or extension of any of the same, by renewal, deferment of action or otherwise, or the acceptance, release, or substitution of security therefor, shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both. The term “State-chartered credit union” includes a credit union chartered under the laws of a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.”).

[4] 18 U.S.C. § 152 – defined (“A person who—

(1) knowingly and fraudulently conceals from a custodian, trustee, marshal, or other officer of the court charged with the control or custody of property, or, in connection with a case under title 11, from creditors or the United States Trustee, any property belonging to the estate of a debtor;

(2) knowingly and fraudulently makes a false oath or account in or in relation to any case under title 11;

(3) knowingly and fraudulently makes a false declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, in or in relation to any case under title 11;

(4) knowingly and fraudulently presents any false claim for proof against the estate of a debtor, or uses any such claim in any case under title 11, in a personal capacity or as or through an agent, proxy, or attorney;

(5) knowingly and fraudulently receives any material amount of property from a debtor after the filing of a case under title 11, with intent to defeat the provisions of title 11;

(6) knowingly and fraudulently gives, offers, receives, or attempts to obtain any money or property, remuneration, compensation, reward, advantage, or promise thereof for acting or forbearing to act in any case under title 11;

(7) in a personal capacity or as an agent or officer of any person or corporation, in contemplation of a case under title 11 by or against the person or any other person or corporation, or with intent to defeat the provisions of title 11, knowingly and fraudulently transfers or conceals any of his property or the property of such other person or corporation;

(8) after the filing of a case under title 11 or in contemplation thereof, knowingly and fraudulently conceals, destroys, mutilates, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any recorded information (including books, documents, records, and papers) relating to the property or financial affairs of a debtor; or

(9) after the filing of a case under title 11, knowingly and fraudulently withholds from a custodian, trustee, marshal, or other officer of the court or a United States Trustee entitled to its possession, any recorded information (including books, documents, records, and papers) relating to the property or financial affairs of a debtor,

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”).

[5] 18 U.S.C. § 1001 – defined (“(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—

(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party's counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.

(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—

(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or

(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.”)

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