Lying to an Investigator: 18 USC § 1001
Definitions and penalties for lying to an investigator are found within this section of US Code. Subsection (a) provides the definition of lying to any executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the government. Anyone who engages in the following activity is subject to penalties under US law:
1. “falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact”
2. “makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation”
3. “makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry”
Subsection (c) clarifies false statements within the legislative branch. Subsection (a) pertains to the legislative branch in:
1. “administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch”
2. “any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority or any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate”
Penalties for Lying to an Investigator
Making false statements, concealing information, or submitting false documents is punishable with 5 years in prison. If the offense is related to international or domestic terrorism, the criminal can receive up to 8 years in prison or is subject to both 5 and 8 years sentences. If the false statements relate to crimes under chapters 109A, 109B, 110, or 117 (which relate to sex offenses and human trafficking), the criminal is subject to no more than 8 years in prison.
Example of Lying to an Investigator: Falsifying Documents
Lying to an investigator does not always occur through misleading statements. Many criminals present false documents to investigators to cover up illegal monetary activity. For example, if a doctor or medical facility creates false documents to submit to Medicare, they are indirectly making false statements to investigators.
The defendant is therefore subject to five years in prison for each false document they submitted to Medicare, theoretically. They are also subject to Medicare fraud and conspiracy, which carry heavier sentences. The judge would look into the defendant’s criminal background and the weight of the crime before reaching a judgment for the penalty.
Example of Lying to an Investigator: Making False Statements
A famous example of lying to investigators is the Casey Anthony case. Anthony was found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse after her 2-year-old daughter was found dead near her grandparents’ home after missing for 6 months. Casey could have received the death penalty if found guilty of all the charges, but she received four counts of lying to investigators.
The prosecution proved that Anthony lied to her parents about Caylee’s whereabouts. She told them she was with a nanny named Zanny, who never existed. Anthony also lied and said she and her daughter were spending time with her boyfriend, who never existed.