Fictitious Obligations

A. Fictitious Obligations Statute – 18 U.S.C. 514

 (a) Whoever, with the intent to defraud—

(1) draws, prints, processes, produces, publishes, or otherwise makes, or attempts or causes the same, within the United States;

(2) passes, utters, presents, offers, brokers, issues, sells, or attempts or causes the same, or with like intent possesses, within the United States; or

(3) utilizes interstate or foreign commerce, including the use of the mails or wire, radio, or other electronic communication, to transmit, transport, ship, move, transfer, or attempts or causes the same, to, from, or through the United States, any false or fictitious instrument, document, or other item appearing, representing, purporting, or contriving through scheme or artifice, to be an actual security or other financial instrument issued under the authority of the United States, a foreign government, a State or other political subdivision of the United States, or an organization, shall be guilty of a class B felony.

(b) For purposes of this section, any term used in this section that is defined in section 513 (c) has the same meaning given such term in section 513 (c).

(c) The United States Secret Service, in addition to any other agency having such authority, shall have authority to investigate offenses under this section.

B. Interpretation of Fictitious Obligations

The elements of fictitious obligations are:

  1. The defendant presented or offered a false or fictitious document;
  2. The document appeared or purported to be a security or financial interest issued under the authority of a government; and
  3. The defendant presented or offered the document with the intent to defraud.

The statute of limitations for this crime is 5 years.

There are two situations where fictitious obligations tend to arise with respect to the IRS. In the first, a taxpayer gives a bad check to the IRS after sending the IRS letters containing anti-tax language. In the second, a taxpayer sends the IRS a bad check that exceeds his or her tax liability, and then seeks a refund of the overpayment.

C. Conclusion

The punishment for this crime is as high as 5 years in federal prison. 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.