False, Fictitious, or Fraudulent Claims

A. False, Fictitious or Fraudulent Claims Statute – 18 U.S.C. 287

Whoever makes or presents to any person or officer in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States, or to any department or agency thereof, any claim upon or against the United States, or any department or agency thereof, knowing such claim to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent, shall be imprisoned not more than five years and shall be subject to a fine in the amount provided in this title.

B. Interpretation of 18 U.S.C. 287

1. Elements of False, Fictitious or Fraudulent Claims

The elements of the crime are:

  1. The defendant knowingly made or presented, or caused another to make or present, a claim to the IRS;
  2. The claim was false, fictitious, or fraudulent; and
  3. The defendant knew the claim was such when it was presented.

The statute of limitations for this crime is 5 years.

2. Summary

The purpose of this crime is to prevent the filing of false or fraudulent claims against the government for money or property. This type of claim almost always involves the filing of false, fictitious, or fraudulent returns or other requests for refunds which claim a refund that the taxpayer is not entitled to.

In the 9th Circuit there is no requirement of materiality.

C. Conclusion

The punishment for this crime is as high as 5 years in federal prison. This offense is closely related to several other tax crimes, including fraud and false statements. If you are or suspect you are being investigated by the IRS, then it is important that you have counsel to assist you in interrogations and investigation. Call our office at (408) 459-8427 for criminal legal representation.