How Often Do FTC Proceedings Result in Criminal Prosecutions?

While all businesses are overseen by a variety of regulations and agencies, perhaps the most serious is the Federal Trade Commission (often abbreviated as the FTC.) The FTC is dedicated to enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws, working to protect competition with industries and choice among consumers. If you were unclear about the amount of power the FTC holds over your business, the answer is “a lot,” as we explained in a previous Blog.

The FTC is not a criminal agency, however. While criminal charges can be served by the Department of Justice, the FTC is a civil law agency. This means that criminal charges will never be served by the FTC personally, although hefty and expensive civil charges can be. However, an FTC investigation or charges can often lead to other agencies getting involved and filing criminal charges against you as well. We discussed the potential of criminal charges in a previous Blog as well.

So how often do these FTC cases result in separate criminal prosecutions? To find out the answer, watch this video from Cove Law’s founder Andrew Cove: 

As you saw in the video, it is difficult to put a number on how often FTC defendants end up being charged criminally. In Cove Law history, perhaps fifty percent of the time FTC defendants have also been charged criminally by the Department of Justice. Those charges usually come after the FTC charges.

The FTC themselves offered some statistics in an article outlining how they helped criminal prosecutions in 2017. The FTC said that in the calendar year 2017, they were asked to help a criminal case 165 times. Of those 165 cases, 91 were charged, serving an average sentence of five years in prison. 6 of those 91 prosecutions served a sentence of over 7 years in jail.

Those federal criminal charges are typically very significant charges. They can include mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, or a combination of the above. They all carry very significant sentences because under the federal criminal system, the number of victims and the dollar amounts involved are big drivers when it comes time for sentencing.

The very same underlying activity that may have given rise to an FTC case can often give rise to a very significant federal criminal charge. If you are dealing with FTC proceedings, contact Cove Law today. We know the challenges you are facing are not insurmountable… because we’ve dealt with them ourselves.

Andrew Cove
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