Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 371 Conspiracy is codified as “If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy…”,
Conspiracy always involves two or more people, because a person cannot conspire with himself. Rogers v United States 340 U.S. 367, 434 (1951). Convictions pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 371 requires proof that one of the conspirators committed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. U.S. v Wardell 591 F. 3d 1279 (10th Cir. 2009). It is a separate offense from the crime that is the object of the conspiracy, and the conspiracy ends when either the unlawful act has been committed or when the agreement has been abandoned. The statute that deals primarily with conspiracy is 18 U.S.C. § 371, but there are some statutes that deal with conspiracies for specific unlawful acts, the most common being 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) (money laundering), and 21 U.S.C. § 846 (controlled substances). Many times, a defendant will be charged with conspiracy along with the actual crime the defendant is accused of committing. Other times, the defendant will be charged with only one count of conspiracy.
A violation of section 371 is punishable by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years and a fine of not more than $250,000.00.
If the offense contemplated is a misdemeanor, the punishment shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.
For more information on Federal Conspiracy charges call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney David J. Sobel directly at 954-383-3000.