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When you face a drug charge, you may be confused over what makes it a federal crime and not a state crime. You may also wonder what the classifications of drugs mean and how that can affect the outcome of your case. There are many aspects you should understand when facing such charges so that you can go to court prepared.

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Washington, DC 20036

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Accused of a white-collar crime?
Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Fraud Defense Attorney 
in DC
Fraud offenses are a classification of crimes in which an act of theft is carried out by trick, deception or another similar device. Fraud crimes include offenses such as banking fraud, mortgage fraud, identity theft, wire fraud and mail fraud, and Medicare Fraud and Healthcare Fraud. While common crimes such as petty theft and shoplifting can come with substantial penalties, fraud crimes are often prosecuted much more severely because of the violation of trust that is involved. Furthermore, these crimes often involve a substantial amount of money.

Not everyone investigated for or charged with fraud has engaged in conduct a layman might consider “criminal”. Some types of fraud like government fraud under the False Claims Act or securities fraud can and are prosecuted when there is no evidence of a “specific intent” to defraud. Frequently, government agents will rely upon a doctrine called “deliberate indifference” to argue that an individual is guilty of a violation because he or she knew or should have known of the criminal conduct involved. There is a fine line between intent and mistake. The presence of “intent” renders the conduct a crime. The absence of intent renders the same conduct a non-criminal mistake.

If you are suspected of or have been charged with a fraud offense, you need to seek the advice of an experienced fraud defense lawyer. It is critical to understand your rights and how you can best defend yourself if the case goes to trial. Below is an overview of the most commonly charged fraud cases:

The Definition of Fraud
Fraud is an unlawful act that occurs when a perpetrator makes an illegal gain or denies an earned right to a victim. Fraud can occur in nearly any industry, including finance, insurance, investment and real estate. Fraudulent acts can occur in the purchase of real property such as land, art or personal property, as well as intangible property such as intellectual property, including trade secrets or other intellectual property. Unlawful activities can be carried out by an organization, a group of people or an individual.

States and the U.S. federal government have laws that criminalize fraud. However, these actions may not always result in a criminal trial; civil proceedings can also occur. District prosecutors can decide whether to send a case to trial or may pursue other actions such as mediation or a settlement. If the prosecutors decide to send the case to trial, the accused can be convicted and sentenced to jail time.

Banking Fraud
Banking fraud is a broad term used to describe a number of fraudulent activities aimed at stealing money from a bank, financial institution or a bank’s depositors. For legal purposes, a financial institution is one that has federal backing, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Federal Reserve banks. 

A person commits bank fraud when he or she uses deception or some other deliberate action to defraud a financial institution for personal gain. Personal gain can come in many forms, including money, assets, credit, securities or property. 

There are many different types of banking fraud, each of which the U.S. Secret Service Agency must investigate and prosecute. The most common types of bank fraud, however, include forgery, bank impersonation, fraudulent loans, internet bank fraud and stolen checks. A crime of this nature is a federal offense and, if convicted, a person faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.

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Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage fraud is a subcategory of banking fraud. This type of crime occurs when a person or entity makes a material misrepresentation, omission or misstatement in relation to a mortgage loan and on which lenders rely. Mortgage fraud schemes run the gamut and can be either extremely complex and sophisticated or quite simple. The following, however, are the most common mortgage crimes:
Fraudulent Supporting Loan Documentation: This occurs when a potential buyer or realtor submits falsified support documentation, such as fakes W2s or an inflated property appraisal.
Illegal Property Flipping: A person purchases a property, pays for an inflated appraisal, and then quickly resells the home for the inflated value. This scheme may also involve kickbacks to third parties, falsified supporting loan documentation and/or inflated buyer income.
Silent Second: The seller uses a non-disclosed second mortgage to lend the buyer the down payment. The seller conceals the second mortgage, and the bank believes the buyer used his or her own money for the down payment.
Equity Skimming: An investor uses a straw buyer to purchase a home. Prior to closing, the nominated buyer uses a quit claim deed to sign the home over to the investor. The investor never makes mortgage payments, but he or she rents out the property for an income until the lender forecloses on the property.
Stolen Identity: A mortgage applicant uses another person’s identity to obtain a mortgage loan.
Regardless of the nature of the crime, mortgage fraud is a federal offense and, in some states, a state-level crime. If convicted, an offender faces up to 30 years in jail and up to $1 million in fines.
Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when an individual unlawfully uses a victim’s personal information to purchase goods, obtain credit or commit another fraudulent act. A common form of identity theft is when someone uses another person’s credit card number to make purchases. Another type of identity theft occurs when an individual uses a third party’s personal information to obtain a financial account.

Identify theft cases are often prosecuted as felonies and can result in severe penalties, including fines and jail time. Victims in identify theft cases often suffer unpleasant consequences. Credit reports can be ruined and victims can sometimes be held financially responsible for charges made on their accounts.

Mail and Wire Fraud
Mail fraud occurs when a person uses the U.S. Postal Service or another interstate delivery service to deceive another individual or entity out of money or property. Wire fraud is more or less the same except that it involves the use of an interstate wire transmission. The wire transmission may be email, fax, telephone, text or the use of an interstate chat room. Wire fraud laws are essentially an extension of the mail fraud statutes that the government created to account for evolving technology. 

Both mail and wire fraud are federal offenses that carry severe penalties. Though the punishment for each crime depends on the amount of property the defendant attempted to or did obtain, the number of targeted victims and the defendant’s criminal background, a conviction could result in up to 30 years in prison, up to $1 million in fines, restitution and probation.

Medicare and Healthcare Fraud
Both patients and medical providers commit healthcare and Medicare fraud on an increasingly common basis. A provider may commit healthcare fraud in a number of ways, including misrepresenting the level or type of service rendered; billing for items or services that were either not medically necessary or that were never rendered; billing Medicare for appointments patients did not keep; billing for services that were not properly documented; and seeking payment for individual services that were performed on the same day and that were integral to one another (unbundling). 

The everyday consumer can also commit healthcare fraud. The most common way this occurs is when a person knowingly submits a false claim to obtain Medicare benefits to which the law would otherwise not have entitled him or her. Medicare and healthcare fraud can result in both criminal and civil penalties, the former of which include fines and jail time.

Time Is of The Essence

Contact Dennis Boyle, Attorney At Law Today

If you or a loved one has been charged with a fraud offense, you need to seek the advice of a fraud defense lawyer as soon as possible. Denise Boyle, Attorney at Law, is highly experienced and is capable of defending those charged with fraud offenses. Our legal team is trained to handle all types of fraud cases including forgery, identify theft, public assistance and credit card fraud. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Practice Areas

White Collar Criminal Defense

Those that find themselves charged with a white collar crime must make sure they have a dedicated defense attorney on their side.
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Investment Arbitration

These high-pressure cases can may prove especially difficult when dealing with countries known for high levels of corruption.
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Securities & Investment Crimes

With these white collar crimes you can face years or even decades of prison time, hefty fines and possibly other criminal charges.
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International Criminal Law

There are many criminal defense attorneys providing legal counsel throughout the Washington, DC area. However, very few of them have the professional experience and legal acumen to handle criminal defense on an international scale.
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Mail / Wire Fraud

Mail and wire fraud are two of the most frequently prosecuted crimes in the US. Both of these crimes are federal felony offenses.
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Fraud Cases

Fraud crimes are often prosecuted much more severely and often involve substantial amounts of money due to the violation of trust.
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Money Laundering

Money Laundering can lead to severe penalties including many years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines and asset seizure.
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Racketeering and Organized Crime

These offenses relate to interference with interstate commerce by threat or violence, interference with organized labor, money laundering, murder-for-hire and illegal gambling.
Learn MoreOrganized Crime in the BalkansWest African Organized Crime


Mail and wire fraud are two of the most frequently prosecuted crimes in the US. Both of these crimes are federal felony offenses
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Cyber Crime

Cyber crime is a relatively new and rapidly growing area of law. Too many people, and too many lawyers, think that cyber crimes are just like any other crimes.
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