Countering an allegation of fraud charges relating to federal disaster relief funds may require a strong legal defense. In cases involving U.S. government financial assistance, officials may file charges that could include bank fraud, money laundering and wire fraud.
A Texas resident, for example, applied for several small business relief loans and allegedly gave banks false information. He received at least $17 million from the federal government for businesses that prosecutors claim he did not own. According to the Department of Justice, officials charged him with one count of money laundering, and three counts each of bank fraud and wire fraud.
Prosecutors may require substantial evidence to prove wrongful actions
Prosecutors alleged that the loan’s funding recipient used the money for personal expenses. The charges claim he spent the relief funds on luxury cars and residential properties.
Officials claim his loan applications contained false information stating his businesses employed a large number of workers. He allegedly provided falsified documents showing he needed the funds to meet payroll expenses. According to prosecutors, he forged bank statements and tax filings to qualify for the loan.
A guilty plea may lead to a lesser number of convictions
A defendant has the legal right to counter a prosecutor’s allegations of falsified documents by supplying business records. The charged Texas resident, however, decided to enter a guilty plea. As reported by the Laredo Morning Times, he pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of wire fraud. In exchange for his plea, officials did not convict him of the additional charges, which included three counts of bank fraud and two separate counts of wire fraud.
Federal offenses may result in severe penalties when charges include misuse of government assistance. Individuals facing a conviction, however, have a right to defend themselves and seek a more lenient outcome.