Lawyer of Greater Boston
Courts often treat conspiracy charges as seriously as they do charges for the substantive crime. A conspiracy to commit a crime, the law holds, is a crime in itself, whether or not the object of the conspiracy was ever achieved. State and federal judges have the ability to impose significant penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and large fines, on those convicted of conspiracy. For these reasons and many others, a person accused of conspiracy must defend themselves against the charge just as vigorously as they would any other serious charge.
Boston Conspiracy Attorney David J. Grimaldi has successfully represented many people charged with conspiracy in state and federal court. He has defended clients accused of all types of conspiracy, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, drug trafficking conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy, and many other conspiracy charges. Some of Attorney Grimaldi’s clients have been accused of conspiracy to defraud millions of dollars from the federal government, while other clients have been accused of committing murder in furtherance of an organized crime conspiracy. Attorney Grimaldi has represented white-collar professionals accused of conspiracy to embezzle large sums of money from private companies, and he has represented clients accused of trafficking in all manner of illegal contraband. No matter the nature of the alleged conspiracy, Attorney Grimaldi has the knowledge, experience, and determination to achieve the absolute best possible results for his clients.
Most clients understandably want to know what exactly constitutes a conspiracy. The precise legal definition of conspiracy depends in large part on whether the charge is brought in state or federal court, as well as the particular statute cited in the complaint or indictment. In Massachusetts, the main conspiracy statute, M.G.L. c. 274, § 7, requires that the Commonwealth prove, first, that the defendant joined in an agreement or plan with at least one other person; second, that the purpose of the agreement was to do something unlawful (or to do something that was itself lawful, but by unlawful means); and third, that the defendant joined the conspiracy knowing of the unlawful plan and intending to carry it out. In Massachusetts, the defendant does not need to take any step to complete the conspiracy beyond entering the agreement to do something unlawful. The agreement itself is the crime.
As to the nature of the agreement, the prosecution does not need to prove that the alleged conspirators created a formal agreement among themselves, or that they agreed on every detail of the conspiracy, or even that they met together. The prosecution, however, must prove that there was a joint plan and that the defendant willingly joined that plan. Importantly, it is not enough for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant merely knew about the conspiracy or associated with conspirators. Knowledge of the conspiracy or association with conspirators, by itself, is not proof that the defendant willingly joined the conspiracy.
In federal court, the law is different in important ways. The main conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, requires the government to prove, first, that the agreement specified in the indictment, and not some other agreement, existed between at least two people to commit the substantive crime; second, that the defendant willfully joined in that agreement; and third, that one of the conspirators committed an overt act during the period of the conspiracy in an effort to further the purpose of the conspiracy. The last requirement of an “overt act” is perhaps the most significant difference of federal conspiracy law. In federal court, proof of the agreement is not enough to prove the crime; instead, that the government must also prove that at least one conspirator committed an “overt act” in furtherance of the conspiracy. Whether a specific act constitutes an “overt act” can form part of the defense in federal conspiracy cases.
Depending on the case, federal prosecutors will utilize more specific conspiracy statutes, all of which have their particular requirements of proof. For example, 18 U.S.C. § 1349 criminalizes conspiracy to commit federal fraud offenses, including wire fraud, mail fraud, and securities fraud. Meanwhile, 18 U.S.C. § 286, proscribes conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, such as claims for payment under government grant programs. Another federal conspiracy statute, 21 U.S.C. § 846, targets drug trafficking, while 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), also called the “RICO” statute, outlaws racketeering conspiracy.
Boston Conspiracy Attorney David J. Grimaldi has successfully defended clients charged under all of these conspiracy statutes, as well as others. He is thoroughly familiar with both state and federal conspiracy law, and he knows how to use and develop the case evidence to his client’s advantage. If you are charged or under investigation for conspiracy, you need the best legal defense possible. Call Attorney David J. Grimaldi at (617) 661-1529 or contact him online today.