There are many kinds of offenses that can be prosecuted as federal crimes. And individuals who are facing allegations by the federal government may face a tough legal challenge. The United States Department of State's Diplomatic Security Services recently announced that nine California residents in the Central Valley were arrested in 2011 on federal passport fraud charges.
Two of the nine persons arrested are Stockton residents. Authorities say the men were accused of applying for passports with fraudulently obtained, counterfeit, or stolen identification materials. A spokesperson for the Diplomatic Security Service indicated that it is illegal to "apply for or obtain a United States passport under false pretenses."
The facts and circumstances of the charges against the two men have not been disclosed, and the men are entitled to the same presumption of innocence that protects all individuals accused of a federal crime. However, each of the men could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. They are also subject to immigration proceedings.
As the investigation continues in California, it will be important that the legal rights of the accused men are upheld in court. Just because they have been accused of the crime of federal passport fraud doesn't mean they are actually guilty. These allegations have yet to be substantiated, and the prosecution alone carries a substantial burden of proof. But the severity of the allegations mandate that each man gather all the legal facts he can with regard to this area of federal criminal law. In the meantime, they also deserve fair and equitable treatment as their case makes its way through the courts.
Source: recordnet.com, "Stockton pair facing fraud charges," Dec. 29, 2011