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Federal Criminal Statute of Limitations (white collar tax matter)

Cleveland, OH |

Situation where person has not been charged at all whatsoever. Offense took place almost 5 years ago which is the statute of limitations for most charges that the u.s. doj can bring, but curious about the following. Let's say the statute of 5 years passes in which charges such as wire fraud, and money laundering cannot be brought forward by the u.s. doj because the 5 year statute has passed. Could they still resuscitate the 5 year statute period for (wire fraud, money laundering) if the u.s. doj decides to charge with a tax offense instead since the tax code title 26 allows for a statute of 6 years which is longer? In essence the question is whether the u.s. doj is only limited to charging what has not passed the statute of limitations?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. They could always charge it as a conspiracy, which is a continuing offense.


  2. Yes, the government is limited to and can not charge a person when the time stated in the applicable statute of limitations has passed.
    However, the government may have multiple theories that the S/L has not expired.
    Legal analysis is not simple math(2+2=4). Generalized questions can only yield a speculative answer. Then the questioner attempts to apply the speculation to their specific matter. This may yield a
    false conclusion. This is yet another example that what appears to be a relatively simple question is not simple to answer unless ALL the facts and an actual (not a paraphrasing) review of the facts and circumstances is conducted by an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.
    Consultation with an experienced federal defense lawyer who will listen, investigate and analyse your situation is necessary to confirm the answer to your inquiry.

    Of course, every answer is based on the question asked and requires a more complete context. This answer should not be relied upon to make a legal decision. Seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before acting. Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd. Defenders of the Constitution since 1975/ Aggressive Creative Defense Strategies/ Website: www.waaltd.com 24/7 call (708) 481-4800 text (708)218-0923


  3. It's rarely productive to ask "What if the statute of limitations passes?" in a federal criminal investigation. In this area, federal agents, including IRS Criminal Investigation Division agents, and DOJ attorneys will probably not miss a statute of limitations. Rather, they will file as the deadline approaches. If this case is on the Government's radar, it would be prudent for defense counsel to reach out to DOJ as soon as possible. Otherwise, an indictment may just be delivered directly to the target.

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