COVID-19 Fraud & Theft Crimes
Even if you lack the intent to defraud, if you inadvertently provide false information to the Federal or New York State government to obtain benefits or grants from agencies including Small Business Administration, law enforcement from the NYPD and District Attorney’s Office to the FBI, and US Attorney’s Office, will undoubtedly take a deep dive into your apparent criminal conduct. Even if your Coronavirus fraud lawyer later secures your exoneration, if you erred based on faulty advice, due to an honest mistake, or an intentional effort to deceive and steal, altering, providing incorrect information, or simply lying out right when applying for the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans is potentially criminal. Likewise, if you applied for and were the unlawful recipient of Unemployment Insurance or other benefits, including monies from the New York City Covid-19 Immigrant Emergency Relief Program, the consequences of your alleged criminality will be pervasive, permanent, and devastating.
No matter the nature of the investigation into your actions, never let a genuine mistake brief misstep in your judgment result in the destruction of everything you have worked so hard to achieve for yourself and your family. With the potential for a judge to sentence a convicted felon to years of incarceration, educate yourself on the penal and other laws that will dictate the foundation of your criminal case and retain the right attorneys to navigate your through the COVID-19 criminal justice system. It is never too soon to mount a vigorous defense that opens the doors to the best possible outcome.COVID Theft Crimes
When arrested or indicted on any kind of tax, theft, or larceny-related crime in New York City, Rockland, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk or any county throughout New York State, the most readily applicable statutes are found in Articles 155 and 165 of the Penal Law, and to a lesser degree, Article 1800 of the Tax Law. These statutes, which include charges like Grand Larceny, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, and Criminal Tax Fraud, provide the basic layout of how these kinds of charge apply, their elements, and definitions of applicable terms. However, an effective defense to these arrests and indictments relies on more than just reading and understanding the associated statutes. The practical application of those laws means everything, along with the procedures in a courtroom and the legal decisions that interpret the offenses you face. This is where effective legal representation comes into play - guiding you through this process, understanding the potential pitfalls that will arise throughout the life of a criminal case, and leading from the justice system to a resolution that maintains your freedom, livelihood, and family name in good standing.Misdemeanor COVID Theft, Larceny, Stolen Property & Tax Crimes
The two main theft-related crimes that apply most broadly and are frequently charged are Petit Larceny and Fifth Degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property pursuant to Penal Law 155.25 and 165.40 respectively. In the tax arena, is Fifth Degree Criminal Tax Fraud in accordance with Tax Law 1802.
In some ways, PL 155.25 and PL 165.40 are redundant or largely overlapping – of course, if you steal property, the monies given to you by the government, you are inevitably going to possess that stolen property at some point. Despite this, these are, in fact, distinct offenses. Distinct from these offenses, even if you do not secure any money, if you commit a tax fraud act, you’ll be on the hook for violating TL 1802. Each of these offenses are punishable by up to one year in jail, such as Rikers Island, the Westchester County Jail, or any similar facility.Felony COVID Theft, Larceny, Stolen Property & Tax Crimes
Much more serious than these misdemeanor charges are the various degrees of Grand Larceny, felony degrees of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, and similarly felonious Criminal Tax Fraud offenses. These offenses, and the relevant magnitude or degree of the charge, is largely tied directly to the total value of the stolen property. In COVID-19 related crimes, this is determined by the amount of the relief, aid, or grant either applied for or ultimately received. What makes a felony accusation or conviction so much more concerning is that these offenses are punishable by a number of years in state prison, as opposed to local jail time. In fact, the lowest degree of felony theft is punishable by up to four years in state prison, while the most serious felony larceny-related charge is punishable by up to twenty-five years.Other COVID Larceny & Theft Crimes
There are a number of other offenses that can and likely will be find their way onto a complaint or indictment for a COVID fraud allegation. For example, it may be alleged that your actions are a part of a scheme to defraud, which is a separate offense in and of itself. Maybe the allegation involves using a corporate information and altering records to hide the paper trail. For that matter, it ispossible that the assertion is that you merely “fudged” and made up numbers when drafting the forms and applications you eventually submitted. While not an exhaustive list, the following are some statutes and offenses that would likely be charged in connection with certain COVID-related alleged schemes. Keep in mind, the below offenses may in fact be more serious than the theft from NYS or the Federal governemnt:
- Falsifying Business Records
- Offering a False Instrument for Filing
- Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument
- Scheme to Defraud
While Petit Larceny or even Grand Larceny are relatively simple to explain and understand in principle, the factual complexity of a given case is anything but. With the intricacies of handling a case itself on the ground floor, analyzing discovery, negotiating with prosecutors, and managing what will no doubt be significant efforts at law enforcement to set an example of those who abused the system, going into any courtroom unprepared or without the right legal counsel will leave you tattered and broken with a life of regret. Add to that the enormous complexity of these more sophisticated offenses such as Scheme to Defraud, and the time and effort that must go in to defending your rights and your freedom is difficult to overstate.
The New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC have the experience and passion necessary to defend you effectively. Our criminal attorneys have successfully represented clients investigated for and charged with cases ranging from multi-million-dollar theft schemes and Grand Larceny in the tens of thousands of dollars, to smaller multi-thousand dollar embezzlements and even COVID related accusations. Do not further compound a lapse in judgment by retaining the wrong counsel. When your life, liberty, name, and career are all on the line, there is no substitute for experience, knowledge, and advocacy.
Call the New York theft lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.