Theft of Government Funds

Theft of Government funds is considered a white collar federal crime commonly associated with allegations of identity theft. Typically, an individual is accused of fraudulently petitioning the Federal government in some capacity for a tax return or other type of Federal money they are not entitled to. Charges of this variety generally follow a long investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in concert with a white collar crime task force of a local law enforcement agency. In our experience, more often than not a standard 18 USC 371 conspiracy charge is alleged as well, gathering a number of individuals as defendants and operating to increase the potential intended loss amount and thereby increasing a potential penalty faced by each alleged conspirator. As is with any theft allegation, the larger the amount of money alleged to have been taken, the higher the potential penalty. Like all Federal criminal matters, it is imperative to hire the right criminal lawyer with experience in the Federal system. Frankly, this decision could mean the difference between a lengthy prison sentence or an acquittal.

What is Theft of Government Funds

This charge is codified at 18 USC 641 and the statute makes it a Federal felony to steal money or property belonging to the government worth more than $1000. In order to prove this charge the Federal government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the money or property described in the indictment belonged to the United States, that the person accused in some capacity stole the money or property to his own use or to someone else’s, that the person accused knowingly and willfully intended to deprive the United States of the use or benefit of the money or property, and the money or property had a value greater than $1000.

In short, if one steals property belonging to the Federal government with a value over $1000 with an intent to deprive the Federal government, they could face up to ten years in Federal prison. The specific characteristics surrounding the theft will have a considerable impact on the recommended sentence under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

As indicated before, this charge almost never stands alone in an indictment. Conspiracy, access device fraud, and the dreaded aggravated identity theft allegation are typically charged along with theft of government funds.

How Can We Help?

In any fraud allegation there is the issue of intended loss and how it impacts the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Mitigation of the intended loss number could be the difference between a prison term or probation sentence, depending on the amount and desires of the client. It is not uncommon for those alleged to have committed this crime to be lumped together with others who are truly guilty and much more culpable. Proving an individual actually perpetuated the fraud through filing a false tax return, used a prepaid debit card someone else loaded with government funds for them, or that a person had knowledge that another person deposited stolen government funds into their legitimate account can require a significant amount of evidence. Jason Mayberry routinely handles this charge in our Federal courts and understands the burden upon the government to prove this against someone. Call the Mayberry Law Firm today for a free consultation at (813) 444-7435.