The Crime of Falsifying Records to Obstruct an Investigation

falsifying-documentsRecently, two men connected to a well-known attorney were charged with many offenses after it was found that they were trying to leave the country. One of these crimes was falsifying records to obstruct an investigation. This currently has people around the country wondering what the penalties are for this crime, and what exactly the offense entails.

What is Falsifying Records?

Under federal law, it is a crime to destroy, alter, or falsify records in connection with a federal investigation. It is also a crime to commit any of these acts with records during bankruptcy proceedings. Altering documents in regards to an audit is also an offense that could have someone facing federal prosecution. Taking public records and hiding them, or walking away with them, is also considered falsifying records. Before securing a conviction though, there are certain things the prosecution must prove. If they can, those charged face very harsh penalties.

What Does the Prosecution have to Prove?

Falsifying public records is considered a specific intent crime. This means that in order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant acted intentionally. This means that the defendant must have known that the act was against the law. In some instances, the federal prosecution may also have to show that the defendant knew the documents they were destroying or altering were public records.

One area of intent the prosecution does not have to prove is that the defendant meant to obstruct justice or interfere with a federal investigation. They must only prove that the defendant’s actions did in fact, obstruct justice.

Penalties for Falsifying Records

Individuals that destroy, alter, or falsify records to interfere with a federal investigation or bankruptcy proceedings face up to 20 years in federal prison.

Individuals that are responsible for managing and controlling public records that in any way alter them also face serious penalties. This offense can result in up to three years in federal prison and a $2,000 fine. They may also have to forfeit their office, and will likely be disqualified from holding any government office in the future.

Stealing, falsifying, or altering court records is punishable by up to five years in federal prison. So is stealing, using, or attempting to use a public record that relates to a claim made against the United States government in order to secure compensation.

Are You Facing Federal Charges? Call Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing federal charges of any kind, it is important to speak to a skilled Chicago federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we know how to successfully defend against federal charges so you have the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 312- 270-0999 for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.

Source:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/10/politics/guliani-client-arrested-campaign-finance/index.html

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