18 U.S.C. § 1001 - What Does it Really Mean?

While almost any federal criminal defense attorney can tell you that 18 U.S.C. § 1001 makes it a felony to make false or misleading statements to a government official, only an experienced federal criminal defense attorney can also tell you how this charge is a federal prosecutor’s best friend.

Legally speaking, 18 U.S.C § 1001 makes it a felony to falsify a material fact in a document or to make materially false and misleading statements to a governmental official, including law enforcement and members of Congress, in an official proceeding or investigation. Practically speaking, 18 U.S.C. § 1001 gives federal prosecutors the ability and upper hand to dissect a witness’ statement and nitpick out anything that they think is false so that they can turn the statement around on the witness with the threat of criminal prosecution if they do not cooperate.

Oftentimes, when a witness or a target of an investigation is interviewed by government agents – be it the FBI, the IRS, or the DEA – those investigators often have a lot of knowledge about the witness’ or target’s involvement that they don’t share. There are occasions where they will subtly encourage the witness to make a false or misleading statement, smirking all the while, so that they later have leverage against the witness if they need their cooperation.

A violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 is a felony which could be punishable by up to five years in prison. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of people convicted of such a charge only get probation; however, if you are someone whose professional license or reputation requires a clean record, even such a low-level charge can destroy your career and future. Because a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 necessarily encompasses the idea that you lied or that you deliberately made a false statement, your ability to be trusted in the future will always remain suspect.

18 U.S.C. § 1001 In The News …

Recently, former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos plead guilty to a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 for lying to FBI agents in conjunction with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Papadopoulos was actually “rewarded” with a plea to a false statements charge under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 in that by cooperating with prosecutors – that is, providing substantial assistance in the ongoing investigation conducted by Mueller – he was able to plead guilty to a low-level charge that did not require prison time, as opposed to the more serious felony offenses which Mueller could likely have proven against him, but for his cooperation.

Why You Need An Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

A false statement charge under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 is no laughing matter. This charge can be raised in all sorts of federal criminal investigations such as white collar crimes, money laundering investigations, and federal drug conspiracy cases. Jason Lamm is one of Phoenix, Arizona’s most experienced federal criminal defense attorneys and has successfully represented numerous clients who have been charged with making false statements under 18 U.S.C. § 1001. His efforts have avoided more serious charges and also federal prison time.

If you are under investigation for or have been charged with a federal crime in Arizona, it is extremely important not only that you hire a criminal defense attorney, but that you hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to assist you in your defense. Jason Lamm is available for confidential consultation by calling (602) 663-9100. Don’t make the mistake of waiting and not aggressively defending yourself with the assistance of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.