False Statement to a Federal Agent
Representation for Individuals Accused of Making a False Statement to a Federal Agent
Speak with a qualified federal criminal defense attorney before speaking with federal agents about any criminal matter. White collar criminal defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg of The Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg advocates for and defends anyone who is facing charges for making false statements to federal agents or government officials in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001.
Felony or Misdemeanor?
18 USC 1001 Penalty
Making false statements to federal officials is a felony federal offense that carries punishment ranging from probation to up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. It is a serious offense and one that is all too easy to commit.
This is why it is critical to never speak with a federal agent about a criminal investigation until you speak with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer.
False Statement Charge
Most people do not realize that intentionally making a false statement to the FBI or any federal government official is a crime. This is true even when:
- The statement need not be on the witness stand in a courtroom
- The statement does not need to be made under oath.
- The statement can be written, even on a routine government form
- Even if you it is not a statement, if you make a “material omission.” This is considered “concealment” which can also be charged as a false statement
- There is no requirement that the statement be recorded. It can just be in a federal agent’s notes of an interview or conversation.
- There is no requirement that any other crime occurs as a result of the false statement. As long as the false statement is “willful”, “material” and “within the jurisdiction of the United States.”
How To Avoid Making A False Statement
The easiest way is to not agree to a speak with federal agents until consulting with an attorney. If confronted by federal agents, you likely be going with two or more people. They interview people every day of their professional lives. They know how to trap people into making false statements. They will likely be very conversational and friendly towards you. It may feel like casual conversation.
Do not fall for it. Respectfully tell the agents that you wish to retain an attorney and the attorney will be in touch with them. If you received a voicemail or a note from the agents, contact an attorney before getting in touch with them.
False Statement Examples
Additionally, a false statement charge can occur when submitting forms or statements to the FBI or any government agencies. This includes:
- Statements on customs forms
- Statements to regulatory agencies and inspectors
- Any official communication with a federal investigator
If you are filing any paperwork with the Government and have any concerns about the veracity of a statement or whether a fact should be disclosed, contact The Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg to discuss.
Making a False Statement Defense
Although the jury instructions vary slightly in different federal districts, the frequent defense to making a false statement is that the defendant did not have the specific intent to deceive the agents, misrepresent a material fact or omit a material fact.
Some jurisdictions also now require that the Government prove that the defendant knew that making false statements to federal officials is unlawful. It is important to know that this defense depends largely on raising reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s state of mind at the time the false statement or omission occurred.
The Government will likely attempt to prove the defendant’s specific intent and knowledge of unlawfulness through circumstantial evidence. This is why criminal defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg walks through the entire background and circumstances of the allegations. Analyzing every angle of attack on the charge is crucial to the defense.
Charged With Making False Statements to Federal Agents or a Government Agent?
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you are suspected of, under investigation for, or concerned about omission or making false statements to federal investigators, call Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 for a free and confidential consultation or get in touch via the secure contact form on this page. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.