Fraud is the legal term for intentionally misrepresenting a situation, usually with the intent to personally profit. There are many kinds of fraud, ranging from mortgage fraud to wire fraud, and each of them can have a damaging impact on those who fall victim to them.
Although most states do have statutes related to various kinds of fraud, it is common for those accused of some kind of financial crime to face federal charges rather than state prosecution. Federal charges can be a serious concern because they may carry harsher penalties. They can also mean more challenges. After a conviction or guilty plea, a federal defendant could face incarceration far from their loved ones.
Why are fraud charges so frequently pursued as federal offenses instead of state-level crimes?
They cross state boundaries
One of the reasons that fraud prosecution is often federal is that it involves interstate dealings. Wire fraud involving email schemes that trick people into sharing their credit card information online, for example, could get sent out from one state and end up affecting someone across the country.
Interstate issues typically open the situation up to federal prosecution, even if the crime might cleanly fall under a state statute otherwise.
They make use of federal resources
If the fraud offense that allegedly occurred made use of the Federal Reserve to transfer funds or various telecommunications systems, the offense could become a federal charge due to the use of federal resources.
Similarly, if someone targets federal agencies or organizations when engaged in fraudulent activity, then the federal government would have an interest in prosecuting them.
White-collar criminal charges often require complicated defenses
The evidence used to prosecute a white-collar criminal offense may include years of financial records and detailed information about electronic communications. Mounting a proper defense when facing white-collar charges and federal offenses typically requires a careful evaluation of the evidence.
Many individuals accused of some kind of fraud-related offense can avoid a conviction with the right strategy. Rather than pleading guilty right away out of fear of the worst penalties, mounting an assertive defense based on the evidence is often a better approach. Learning more about your rights when you face federal criminal charges can help you minimize the possibility of a conviction.