Federal Conspiracy Charges—What are They?

A criminal conspiracy case broadly refers to an alleged agreement between two or more people to, simply, commit a crime. Conspiracy to commit a crime can be charged in connection with state or federal crimes, but it’s often the federal conspiracy charges that grab headlines.

The U.S. Code defines the crime of conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States. This federal crime involves two or more people conspiring to commit a crime against or defraud the U.S. or any federal agency. Additionally, at least one of the alleged conspirators must do something that advances the proposed crime. Federal conspiracy charges can be applied to a wide range of conduct, making it a fairly common crime.

One of the most important things to know about federal conspiracy charges is that the underlying crime does not have to actually be committed.

What Are Some Examples of Federal Conspiracies?

Plenty of people associate federal conspiracy charges with white-collar crimes like wire and securities fraud, embezzlement, Medicare fraud, and money laundering. In fact, many federal conspiracy charges are associated with drug, firearm, and immigration crimes. Due to our firm’s proximity to the Mexican border, we handle a large number of offenses related to smuggling drugs or illegal immigrants into Texas.

Bringing in and Harboring Illegal Immigrants

8 U.S.C. § 1324 outlines a number of offenses related to smuggling and harboring illegal immigrants. To begin, it is a federal offense to transport someone you know is not allowed to be in the U.S. into the country. This crime applies to smugglers who attempt to take noncitizens and non-U.S. nationals into the country outside of recognized ports of entry.

Transporting an illegal immigrant within the U.S. with the knowledge that the immigrant is not in the country legally is also a federal crime, as is concealing or attempting to conceal him or her in order to evade detection. The stakes can be raised for those who were already deported or turned away from the U.S. and attempt to re-enter the country.


The penalties connected with illegal immigration vary wildly. Some offenses result in prison time of no more than one year, while illegal re-entry can result in a prison term of up to 20 years. However, conspiracy to commit those federal crimes carry a lesser prison sentence of up to five years—still a long time.

Put Us to Work Today

Defending against federal crimes related to illegal immigration is one thing, but defending against conspiracy charges can be quite different. Our firm understands the countless nuances of federal conspiracy charges and the best ways to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. Contact us today to set up a free initial consultation.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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