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Common Federal Charges in Washington, DC

Realizing that you are the target of a federal investigation can be a stressful and frightening experiences. However, there are many potential defenses to common federal charges in Washington DC, and you should understand your options for handling these charges before making any decisions. Getting advice from a federal criminal attorney could help you make the decisions that are right for you and your family.

Federal Versus DC Criminal Charges

Federal criminal charges differ from Washington DC criminal charges in several respects. Violations of federal law often are interpreted quite broadly, apply to all individuals nationwide, and often carry harsher penalties.

Also, as a general rule, federal criminal offenses in Washington DC commonly involve crimes that occur in multiple states, interstate commerce, or federal officials or property. Given the gravity of these charges, consulting with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney is usually advisable.

Federal White-Collar Crimes

Many federal crimes that relate to financial, business, and commercial transactions are classified as “white-collar” crimes, due to the fact that professionals most commonly engage in these illegal behaviors. Some common examples of white-collar crimes include:

  • Fraud, including insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, mail, wire, securities, and mortgage fraud
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Insider trading
  • Identity theft

Federal authorities often must conduct lengthy investigations into allegations of white-collar offenses that involve thousands of pages of financial documents and computer files. Many times, individuals do not even realize that they are being investigated. Once it becomes apparent that someone is suspected of financial wrongdoing, they should consider getting advice from an experienced white-collar crime attorney.

Mail and Wire Fraud

Among the most common federal charges are mail and wire fraud, which are broad criminal offenses that can apply in a wide range of situations. If illegal financial transactions occur over state lines or using electronic devices, mail and/or wire fraud charges are likely to follow.

According to 18 U.S. Code §1343, wire fraud involves using wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce to effectuate any type of fraud or to obtain money or property by fraud. Alternatively, mail fraud—pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §1341—involves use of the mail system to carry out fraudulent endeavors designed to defraud or obtain money or property.

Money Laundering Charges

Money laundering generally involves financial transactions in which individuals are trying to hide or disguise proceeds of illegal activities. 18 U.S.C. §1956 defines money laundering as occurring in two different situations:

  • Individuals who engage in some type of financial transaction involving the proceeds of a crime or crimes
  • Individuals who avoid reporting requirements by conducting a transaction of more than $10,000

If suspected money laundering charges involve more than one person, then the federal government will often seek conspiracy charges as well. Likewise, if telecommunications, mail service, or computers are used in the context of money laundering, mail fraud and/or wire fraud charges may accompany the money laundering charges.

Federal Criminal Charges Under RICO

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a powerful federal law often used to target organized crime in the form of gangs and crime families. Pursuant to the terms of 18 U.S.C. §§1961-1968, there are over 30 white-collar and violent crimes that may also result in racketeering charges.

The most common federal criminal offenses that go along with RICO charges in Washington DC are drug trafficking, money laundering, and various types of fraud. Adding RICO charges to common federal charges in Washington DC that already carry harsh penalties can cause individuals who are convicted of these crimes to receive even more severe sentences.

Consult an Attorney to Learn More About Common DC Federal Charges

While federal criminal charges can often feel overwhelming, these cases can move rather rapidly once the government initiates them. As a result, you should usually seek the advice of a criminal defense lawyer as early as possible in your federal criminal case.

Whether you are facing one of the more common federal charges in Washington DC or another type of federal offense, getting the legal advice that you need at the outset of your case may assist you when it comes to resolving your case in a positive manner. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.