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How does federal law define the concept of criminal conspiracy?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2020 | Federal Crimes

Any instance in which someone receives an indictment for a federal crime is sure to be jarring. It’s only once a defendant reads that document a bit more closely than they may find that it lists not only a white collar offense but also conspiracy charges.

You will need to know more about what constitutes a conspiracy in the federal government’s eyes if you want to devise a strategy for fighting the charges you face.

Understanding criminal conspiracy

Title 18 United States Code (USC) § 371 is the U.S. law section that describes the conspiracy statutes. It describes this crime as a party offense or one in which two or more people agree to work together to violate federal law.

Investigators often spend a lot of time trying to ascertain the ringleader or brains behind a criminal act. This federal law section allows the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute anyone they can prove devised a fraudulent or illegal plan. They can also charge individuals who decided to join an existing conspiracy as well.

Prosecutors must generally be able to prove several elements to charge a defendant with conspiracy. They must be able to show that they intentionally agreed to work with two or more persons to defraud or otherwise violate U.S. law. Those individuals must commit some overt act after reaching an agreement with one another for prosecutors to charge them with such an offense.

Prosecutors often rely upon circumstantial evidence to prove that a conspiracy existed. Federal law enforcement agents learn that most any instance in which an individual derives some direct benefit is evidence enough that some conspiracy occurred.

Conspiracy is a federal crime that is punishable by up to $250,000 in fines and five years’ imprisonment.

Federal investigators have many investigative tools at their disposal to identify and get to the bottom of alleged impropriety. A Texas grand jury must hear your Texas case and decide to indict you before the U.S. Attorney’s Office takes it to trial.

Prosecutors tend to be unrelenting in trying their cases and have high conviction rates as a result. An attorney can be your advocate in your San Antonio legal matter when you need one the most.