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False Information and Hoaxes

Federal law makes it a crime to convey false or misleading information regarding attempts to destroy, damage, or disable aircraft or motor vehicles. These types of charges are extremely serious and can result in hefty fines and long prison sentences, so if you or a loved one are being investigated for providing false information to the government about an impending attack, it is important to seek the advice of a white collar crime attorney who can explain your legal options.

Elements of the Offense

The law prohibiting the conveyance of false information is commonly referred to as the “bomb hoax” statute. A person can be convicted of conveying false information if he or she provides misleading data under circumstances where the information could reasonably be believed. Furthermore, the information in question must indicate that an activity involving one of the following acts has taken, is taking, or will take place:

  • The destruction of an aircraft or aircraft carrier facility;
  • The destruction of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle facility;
  • Biological weapons;
  • Chemical weapons;
  • The importation, manufacture, distribution, and storage of explosive materials;
  • Unlawful firearm-related acts;
  • Destruction of shipping vessels; and
  • The use of weapons of mass destruction for terrorism purposes.

These cases almost always involve allegations that a person provided false information about a terrorist act to law enforcement officers. However, it is also unlawful to knowingly make a false statement about the death, injury, capture, or disappearance of a member of the U.S. military during a war or armed conflict.

Penalties

When a person is convicted of making a false report, he or she faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, if a serious bodily injury results from the false information, the sentence can be increased to 20 years. Finally, if a death occurs as a result of the defendant’s actions, he or she could face life in prison. Defendants who are convicted of this offense will also be required to reimburse the state or local government for fire or rescue services provided in response to their unlawful conduct. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution will need to demonstrate that the defendant knew that the information was false at the time it was conveyed.

Call Today to Schedule a Meeting With an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney

Charges of conveying false information or perpetrating a hoax can have serious consequences, so if you are being investigated for this type of offense, it is critical to have the advice and guidance of a dedicated attorney. To speak with a white collar crime lawyer about your own case, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at (305) 670-9919. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you set up a free case evaluation. You can also reach a member of our team by sending a brief online message containing your contact information and a description of your case. We look forward to addressing your white collar crime-related questions and concerns.

Resource:

justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-1427-imparting-or-conveying-false-information-bomb-hoax-18-usc-35

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