Most people do not know that lying to a government agent is a crime even if the lie was oral and not under oath. Concealing material facts and making false material representations is a crime according to title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. The code states the following:
“Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully-
- Falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
- Makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
- Makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years …”The number of years an individual spends in jail will increase to 8 years if there is international or domestic terrorism involved.
When Are You Likely To Face Penalties
You are likely to face these penalties if you provide false documents or statements to a special agent or revenue agent during an investigation or audit. As far as providing false documents or statements and criminal tax charges are concerned, the government must provide proof in order to achieve a conviction under section 1001. They must prove beyond reasonable that the:
- Statement, representation, or document was made or used
- The statement, representation, or document was material
- The statement, representation, or document was false, fraudulent and fictitious
- It was made or used willfully or knowingly
- It is under the authority of the federal agency concerned with taxes
What Are Statements Or Representations
A statement can be oral or written and can range from forging signatures or answering questions from an examiner falsely during an interview. You don’t need to make the statement or representation under oath for it to be considered fraudulent under section 1001. Additionally, the statement or representation does not have to be made directly to the government or received by the government for it to be considered fraudulent. For example, you can be arrested for preparing a false document that you intend to file electronically even before that document has been transmitted.
False, Fictitious, Or Fraudulent Statements, Or Representations
A false claim is a claim that is untrue and unlawful. It is a claim made in order to deceive or fool someone with the intent to betray the trust of that person. A fictitious claim is a claim that is made-p, fabricated or is not true. Fraudulent claims are claims that are made, done, or affected in order to carry out fraud. There are many ways in which an individual can make fictitious, false or fraudulent statements in a way that violates section 1001. If the IRS has accused you of making fraudulent, fictitious or false statements, hire an experienced tax attorney to defend your rights.
Defenses to Charges Under 18 USC Section 1001
The defendant had no idea the statement was false.
If the defendant made a false statement due to an honest mistake, confusion, or simple misunderstanding, then this is a valid defense.
The defendant’s statement was irrelevant.
The defense raises the question of whether a statement or representation is relevant or significant enough to be considered material to a federal matter. A defense is also available when the false statement is not made within the jurisdiction of the government or to a government agent.
The penalties for violating 18 USC 1001 are as follows:
- Federal prison time of up to 5 years
- Unspecified fine
- If the offense involves domestic or international terrorism, trafficking of humans, or some sex offenses, the defendant faces up to eight years in federal prison.