Under 18 U.S.C. § 371, it is a crime for two or more people to conspire to commit any offense against the United States or to defraud the United States.
Federal Criminal Conspiracy is one of the most commonly charged federal crimes, and has been termed, “the darling in a federal prosecutor’s nursery”.
In order to be convicted of criminal conspiracy, there must be an agreement between at least two parties to achieve an illegal goal and taking a step (overt act) in furtherance of the conspiracy. Any party who has knowledge of the purpose(s) of a conspiracy and knowingly joins the conspiracy can be bound in as a co-conspirator and have criminal exposure even if his or her role is minimal.
Currently, the new “flavor of the month” is the use of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, which criminalizes conspiracies to commit bank, mail, wire, health care, and securities fraud.