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What Are The Consequences of Lying to a Federal Agent?

Lying, or willingly making false statements to a United States federal agent, is a federal crime. Under Section 1001 of title 18 of the United States Code (18 USC Section 10001), an individual or group can be criminalized for knowingly falsifying, concealing, and/or covering up pertinent information with a trick or scheme intended to derail any investigation. All false statements, spoken and written, that are or are not made under oath are subject to similar penalties.

 

It is stated in the United States Code that those found in violation of 18 USC Section 1001 can receive a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison for tax evasion and lying with intent to derail any investigation, and eight years if any false statements are linked to acts to terror, human trafficking, and certain sexual offenses. However, in order to successfully convict an individual or group of committing such crimes and being in violation of 18 USC Section 1001, United States government officials must prove three things:

  • That any false statement(s), written or spoken, by the defendant is/was “material” to the investigation. A “material” false statement is one that “has the natural tendency to influence or is capable of influencing” a federal agent receiving the information. A “material” false statement does not have to be believed by the federal agent receiving the information but if the false statement(s) made was intended to prevent locating, charging, and convicting  any suspects, it is considered a crime.  


  • That the false statement(s), written or spoken, by the defendant was ‘knowingly and willingly’ made. The prosecution must convince the jury of the intentional nature behind the defendant’s false statements.  The jury will ultimately decide whether the defendant’s or prosecutor’s version of events surpass reasonable doubt. 


  • That the false statement(s) in question made by the defendant regarded a matter within the federal government’s jurisdiction. Taking into consideration the latitude of the United States government and its areas of power, jurisdiction ranges from the economy to healthcare.

If you are being charged with falsifying statements during a federal investigation, contact Michael B. Cohen today! 

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