Defense Strategies for DC Fraud Cases

A DC fraud lawyer answers questions about defense strategies in DC fraud cases.

What are the first things that you look at when presented with a fraud case?

Whenever a new client comes in for a situation involving allegations of fraud, I will want to know exactly what type of conduct is being alleged. In other words, I want to know what the government is claiming that this person did. I want to know what, if any, evidence the government may have in their possession or be able to obtain in that case to prove the allegations of fraud. I also want to know what possible defenses there could be to the government’s allegations in the sense of whether the defendant actually engaged in any conduct, and, if the defendant did engage in any kind of conduct, whether that conduct was intentionally trying to defraud someone. I need to look at whether the defendant actually received any benefits or property based upon any conduct. I’ll need to know what, if any, witnesses there might be to any conduct that the defendant actually did engage in, or if there are witnesses who could establish that it was not the defendant who engaged in the conduct or that the defendant did not engage in the conduct at all. I basically want to find out about all the universe of evidence that the government either already has, can obtain in the future, or is unaware of but could be useful for the defense.

What are some common questions that you would ask a potential client?

I typically ask questions in order to determine what the alleged conduct is, what happened in actuality, whether there are any witnesses, whether there are any documents, and what the universe of evidence involved is. When they first hire me, my clients for a fraud case commonly ask me questions regarding what the penalties are and what the government has in the sense of evidence against them based upon the information that they are providing to me. Another question that I am often asked as well is whether or not they can still be prosecuted if they didn’t actually succeed in obtaining any kind of property or benefits. That is a common misconception about fraud. The answer to that is yes, but a very common misconception in the public is that if someone did not actually succeed in their attempt then they cannot be prosecuted as if they had succeeded. Unfortunately, they could still be prosecuted just for attempting to defraud someone.

Why do clients choose to work with you in fraud cases?

I have significant experience working with the United States Attorney’s Office in general, the specific prosecutors who handle fraud cases in the District of Columbia, as well as the detectives within the relevant agencies. Over years of working with these types of cases, I have developed relationships with these law enforcement and prosecutorial individuals such that I typically am able to have very productive dialogue with them. I am able to get as much information as possible from the government early in the case and it is that experience that really helps in my defense of my clients. Whenever a potential client comes in and wants to discuss what is happening with regard to an investigation, the fact that very likely I’m already familiar with the detective who has reached out to them or with the prosecutor who has reached out to them lets my clients know that I have significant experience working these exact types of cases with these exact people.

What are some of the most challenging components of fraud cases?

As with the defense of any type of criminal case in the District of Columbia, it can be challenging to go against the United States Attorney’s Office because of the nearly limitless amount of resources they can bring to bear. With experience I have learned exactly how to challenge their evidence, challenge the process, challenge their decisions, and am able to successfully defend my client. It is always a challenge going against a federal prosecutorial agency with such nearly limitless resources.