Anyone who makes a false statement to the FBI or other federal authorities in Texas regarding a crime can be charged under Code 18 USC Section 1001. Making false statements is a called a process offense because it hinders justice. However, just because a person gets charged with making false statements during a criminal investigation doesn’t mean they will be charged with the underlying offense.
Breaking Code 18 USC Section 1001 comes with stiff penalties. A person could face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for making false statements. In cases of making false statements regarding terrorism, human trafficking and some sexual misconduct charges, conviction could mean eight years in prison.
A violation of the code must be proven beyond reasonable doubt and meet the following criteria: The accused acted willfully in making a a false statement, used or prepared a written document that had false statements during an investigation, or tried to cover up or falsify a fact deceptively. The law does not require a statement to have been made under oath. It also does not mean that the statement must be given directly to the federal government, that the statement must be written or that there must be proof of federal property loss.
There are some exceptions to Code 18, which include judicial proceedings or the party’s counsel, FDA interviews or terrorist plot investigations. The law only applies to administrative matters and interviews associated with them.
Sometimes, a person can make an honest mistake and not know that information on a document was false, such as a health care regulation or the wrong income on taxes. The agent doing the interrogations must also let the defendant know their rights. If a person has been charged with making false statements or they feel that their rights have been violated by a federal agent, a criminal defense lawyer may help.