Federal Criminal Defense
Crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the federal government often concern an alleged fraud facilitated by the use of the U.S. Mail or a commercial mail carrier such as Fed Ex, or by phone or fax. Federal fraud charges may involve the misappropriation of federal funds by false billing of Medicare, billing a government agency such as the EPA or Department of Defense for false or inflated services or goods, or loan / mortgage fraud involving HUD insured loans. Federal fraud charges may involve alleged schemes to misappropriate private funds as well. The list of federal criminal and regulatory offenses gets longer with each Congressional session. If you are contacted by a federal law enforcement agent, such as an FBI agent, postal inspector, treasury agent, or Secret Service agent, you may be the target of an on-going federal criminal investigation.
A request by a law enforcement investigator to give an interview is not an order compelling you to do so. If you are approached by an agent, it is best to request an opportunity to speak with an attorney first – which the agent must honor – before you decide what is in your best interests.
OUR EXPERIENCE IN FEDERAL CRIMINAL CASES
As New Jersey criminal lawyers, we have experience in handling federal criminal cases, including mail fraud, financial institution fraud, conspiracy, false statements, false claims, and bid rigging. In addition to representing targets of investigations, another important aspect of our federal criminal defense experience is the representation of witnesses who are subpoenaed to testify and produce documents to a federal grand jury. If improperly handled, the results of a grand jury investigation can be devastating.
Our firm successfully represented the fourth largest environmental testing laboratory in the United States in a procurement fraud case involving the testing of soil and ground water at an Air Force base in California. The company was not prosecuted. We have continued to represent individuals and businesses in cases involving government program fraud and procurement fraud.
When you or your company are charged with a crime, the government may seek to take away your right to do business – whether by seeking to revoke your license to engage in your profession, or by seeking to bar your company from government contract work. We are experienced in the area of professional licensing proceedings and in federal suspension and debarment actions and can help you and your company stay in business.
WHEN YOU ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION
Very often, you will learn that you are the target of an on-going federal criminal investigation through direct contact from federal law enforcement agents, or from law enforcement contacts to your co-workers, or associates.
At this point, it is imperative to engage an attorney to contact the investigating agents or the Assistant United States Attorney handling the case. The early stage of a defense attorney’s involvement in a case is primarily focused on gathering as much information about the investigation as possible. The early stages will involve an analysis of whether there is sufficient evidence to charge you with a crime. Your attorney should conduct a prompt investigation of the facts of the case and explore all avenues leading to defenses of the potential charges. No decision to cooperate in an investigation should be made without the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
IF YOU ARE CHARGED
If you are charged with a federal criminal offense, we will pursue all avenues of defense, including motion practice, negotiations, and trial. We will be with you every step of the way, beginning with your bail interview with Pre-Trial Services, and your initial appearance before the Federal Magistrate. If we, as a team, agree that you should cooperate with the authorities for consideration of a better outcome of the charges, we will be with you at each proffer session, to make sure that you ultimately get full credit for your cooperation.
FEDERAL CRIMINAL SENTENCING
The sentencing phase of a criminal proceeding is one of the most overlooked aspects of a client’s case. Justice Department statistics reveal that 88% of those charged in the Federal system enter into plea agreements. Failure to properly handle a client’s sentencing may have dire consequences. A lawyer’s diligence and creativity can often change the outcome of a sentence, making the difference between custodial and non-custodial sentences, or in the worst case scenario, the difference between long and shorter terms of incarceration.
Sentencing in Federal Court, and the advisory Sentencing Guidelines that influence it, represent a significant challenge to a criminal defense attorney in obtaining a positive result for the client. Although, as a result of United States Supreme Court decisions, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are advisory and no longer mandatory, their importance, and influence on plea offers and sentences, cannot be understated. Mastering the intricacy of the Sentencing Guidelines, and the complicated formula by which the guidelines are applied, is essential to assure that a client obtains the best-possible result in the unfortunate event that you are convicted of a crime.
We make a point of continual study of the Guidelines, and its amendments. We seek every possible downward adjustment and downward departure. “Relevant conduct” under the Guidelines can cause a base offense level to increase from a non-custodial sentence to one carrying an extensive term of incarceration. Accordingly, constant review of the relevant conduct provisions of the Guidelines is critical for proper client representation. We are committed to providing the most effective advice, counsel, and representation to each client subject to the Sentencing Guidelines. This includes effective plea negotiation with the United States Attorney’s Office, and interaction with the Probation Department in the preparation of the Pre-sentence Investigation Report.
However, our work in sentencing does not end with Sentencing Guidelines advocacy. Now that the Guidelines are advisory, sentencing is open to creative advocacy in the area of mitigating factors under the Sentencing Reform Act. We utilize the evaluations and reports of very experienced physicians, psychologists, and forensic accountants to demonstrate to the sentencing judge why certain mitigating factors should be given substantial weight and/or why the loss calculations suggested by the Government are not accurate or valid.
Having an experienced, aggressive criminal lawyer is particularly important in a federal criminal case, where your liberty is at stake. Each federal criminal case in New Jersey requires a unique approach that fits your particular needs. We methodically investigate, research, and prepare each case, then apply the skill and know-how that comes with 30 years of experience.
View our article on Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Having an experienced, aggressive trial lawyer is critical to your success in a Federal Criminal Proceeding, where your liberty, family, finances, and future are at stake.