Recently, federal prosecutors in Memphis have made some major allegations. They claim that some current and former Internal Revenue Service employees have fraudulently obtained more than $250,000 in government benefits. The prosecutors have now brought federal charges against the government employees.

The most severe of the charges have been brought against 13 current and former employees for allegedly obtaining unemployment benefits by making false statements. Each person has been charged individually, with prosecutors claiming that they falsely stated they were unemployed while applying for the benefits. Other individuals, 11 in all, have been accused of theft of property valued over $1,000. This type of charge is a class D felony.

Being charged with a federal crime can have a devastating impact on a person’s personal and professional reputations. This is most likely especially true in this case, in which the individuals accused of violating federal criminal law are government employees.

Fraud alone can result in severe and long-term consequences. A conviction can not only lead to a lengthy prison sentence, but it can also bring substantial fines. A defendant accused of fraud is also in danger of being saddled with a damaging criminal record for the rest of their lives, if they are convicted. Such a record can make it very difficult for a person to obtain certain benefits, as well as complicating any type of employment search after a sentence has been served. Anyone accused of fraud should take it very seriously and take steps toward making sure they understand their legal rights.

Source: Accounting Today, “24 IRS Employees Indicted for Fraudulently Obtaining Government Benefits,” Michael Cohn, April 18, 2013