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Criminal Defense

Telemarketing Fraud

What is Telemarketing Fraud?

Telemarketing fraud schemes involve making false promises and misleading statements over phone to trick and deceive people and businesses into handing over their valuables for next to nothing in exchange. In effort to maximize profits, telemarketing fraud schemes usually target vulnerable Americans, such as people they have successfully scammed in the past and the elderly, and focus on acquiring immediate access to their financial assets, like credit card numbers and bank account information. It should come as no surprise then that governmental authorities across all levels remain vigilant and unwavering in their efforts to protect vulnerable Americans from perpetrators of telemarketing fraud and other fraud schemes targeting them.

What is the Federal Statute Dealing with Telemarketing Fraud?

First, multiple federal statues exist for either the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Department of Justice (DOJ) to deploy against telemarketing fraud perpetrators. In terms of criminal charges, you would likely see charges for wire or mail fraud under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1343, which you can learn more about here, especially considering that the Senior Citizens Against Marketing Scams Act of 1994 provided enhanced penalties for a person convicted of mail or wire fraud in connection with telemarketing.

In terms of civil charges, the FTC would handle cases of telemarketing fraud that violates its rules and regulations that govern unfair and deceptive telemarketing. Similar to criminal charges, those rules and regulations also provide enhanced penalties in cases with elderly victims.

How Do You Prove Telemarketing Fraud?

While the required proof may vary with each charge, telemarketing care fraud requires proof that the defendant knowingly and willfully executed or attempted to execute a scheme to defraud a federal health care program.

Telemarketing care fraud generally requires proof that the defendant knowingly and willfully executed or attempted to execute a scheme to defraud in connection with telemarketing practices, while the requirements for a conviction in each case would vary.

At the same time, you can learn more about the requirements for cases of telemarketing fraud with wire and mail fraud charges and proving a scheme to defraud by visiting here.

What are Some Common Practices of Telemarketing Fraud Schemes?

While telemarketing fraud may appear in many forms, the schemes in cases of telemarketing fraud commonly can often include the following activities:

What are Some Common Telemarketing Fraud Schemes?

While telemarketing fraud may appear anywhere, the cases of telemarketing fraud often include schemes involving:

What Are Some Common Red Flags?

While telemarketing fraud is intended to be deceptive by its nature, the following are common statements that are “red flags” that would indicate the strange person you are speaking to might be attempting to commit telemarketing fraud:

Statements such as:

Suggestions such as:

If you hear a salesperson say or suggest anything above or similar things, you should probably be safe and hang up the phone.

Who is Investigating Telemarketing Fraud?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are the most likely agencies investigating persons suspected of telemarketing fraud, as these three are the main enforcement agencies of the federal government for telemarketing matters.

What is the Punishment for Telemarketing Fraud?

The punishment for Telemarketing fraud most often includes an assessment of heavy fines and a term of imprisonment, but sentencing varies with each case’s unique set of facts, the presiding judge, and factors considered under the federal sentencing guidelines, which you can read more about here.

Additionally, you might also see a civil lawsuit, and might see your assets and bank accounts frozen and seized if investigators suspect the money there was profit from the criminal fraud scheme or purchased using the profits criminal fraud scheme. Criminal penalties from a conviction would likely include a mandated restitution to alleged victims may also be mandated.

Is Telemarketing Fraud a Felony?

It depends on the charges and who brings the case.

If the FTC pursues the investigation and brings the telemarketing fraud case, then, as a civil case, it would not be a criminal charge and thus not a felony.

On the other hand, if the case is brought by the DOJ under a criminal fraud charge, like mail or wire fraud, then it would most likely be a felony under federal law.

How Long is a Prison Sentence for Telemarketing Fraud?

It depends on the charges and who brings the case.

5 years of additional imprisonment applies to convictions of mail or wire fraud in connection with the conduct of telemarketing.

10 years of additional imprisonment applies to convictions of mail or wire fraud in connection with the conduct of telemarketing when the conduct includes 10 or more victims or targets over the age of 55.

What is the Minimum Sentence for Telemarketing Fraud?

Every sentence in a federal cases is based on the federal sentencing guidelines, which considers a multitude of factors, such as prior criminal history, use of a gun, or position of trust, to calculate a recommended range that the federal judge may use as a guide for sentencing, however the presiding judge ultimately reserves final discretion at sentencing. Thus, as long as the judge provides a reasonable basis for their decision on record, the judge may make what is called a “departure from the guidelines” and sentence the defendant to a term of imprisonment outside the recommended range. You can learn more about the sentencing under the federal sentencing guidelines here.

Will I Be Required to Pay Back Restitution?

Possibly, as it depends on the charges you are convicted of and the unique facts of your case.

For convictions of mail or wire fraud in connection with the conduct of telemarketing, the Senior Citizens Against Marketing Scams Act of 1994 provides for mandatory restitution.

Ultimately, however, final discretion remains with the judge presiding over sentencing, and factors that also will help determine whether restitution will be required include whether there are victims of the convicted charges, whether those victims suffered compensable harm, the federal sentencing guidelines, and many more.

Can the Government Seize my Assets During an Investigation? After Conviction?

Possibly, as it again depends on the charges alleged in the indictment and the unique facts of your case As mentioned above, the charges and facts alleged in the indictment shape the scope of the entire criminal proceeding, including assets subject to pre-trial seizures and final forfeiture as part of sentencing, if convicted. You can learn more about the sentencing under the federal sentencing guidelines here.

How is the Government Prosecuting for Telemarketing Fraud Related to Covid-19?

See our news page for recent updates on COVID-19 fraud cases here.

Investigators Contacted me: What Do I Do?

You should only speak with law enforcement investigator regarding anything related to fraud, COVID-19 fraud, or any other related crime after you have spoken to a criminal defense lawyer. Period.

A common question from people involved in a criminal investigation is at what point can they finally clear their name and share their part of the story.

You have probably heard investigators, prosecutors, and others taking the situation out of context, bending the truth, and misunderstanding what actually happened. They are relying on people who are lying, and the whole situation is outrageous and humiliating for you.

You should know that the Fifth Amendment exists to protect anyone accused of a crime from incriminating themselves, and the truth is it takes only one split-second mistake to get unnecessarily tied up in a prolonged criminal investigation that will place a heavy financial and time-consuming burden for you and loved ones. Do not go swimming with sharks alone and without a cage.

You need to speak with a fraud or COVID-19 fraud defense attorney to obtain sound legal advice before you speak with federal fraud investigators, even if you think you have done nothing wrong.

You should contact a defense lawyer that has decades of experience handling criminal investigations before you engage with investigators. Balancing cooperation and protecting your constitutional rights and liberties requires a defense attorney that knows how to handle federal investigators.

When Should I Contact a Federal Fraud Defense Lawyer?

If you have been contacted or anticipate contact from federal fraud or COVID-19 fraud investigators, then you should contact and speak with a federal fraud and COVID-19 fraud defense lawyer to protect yourself, your freedom, and financial stability. You will not be able to talk yourself out of the crosshairs – you’ll only be wound up in a web of investigation tactics.

How Can Schiffer Law Firm Help me?

You need a fraud defense lawyer who knows what they’re doing and has a proven track record of experience defending federal fraud cases. Schiffer law firm has over four decades of experience defending clients involved in federal criminal investigations and clients accused of federal crimes. The fraud defense lawyers at Schiffer law firm know how to handle federal fraud cases from first contact by investigators to overturning wrongful convictions on appeal.

Does Schiffer Law Firm Only Defend People in Texas?

Schiffer law firm attorneys has and continues to defend people needing fraud defense attorneys nationwide. Nobody is too small, and nowhere is too far. If you think you need to speak to a fraud defense attorney, give us a call today.