When people read about conspiracy, they often think about conspiracy theories. This might include far-reaching beliefs that a particular group or organization is secretly behind certain events or in the context of trying to explain mysterious, unsolvable occurrences.
In the legal perspective, however, conspiracy is a very real and very serious allegation that a person has conspired with someone else to commit a crime. In many cases, conspiracy charges are filed in association with drug charges or fraud, but they can also be filed in connection to crimes involving terrorism. In fact, six Minnesota men were recently arrested and charged with conspiracy after federal agencies found links between them and a terrorist organization.
According to reports, the FBI worked with several other agencies in a Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate claims that there were Minnesotans involved in funding the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, better known as ISIL. After months of investigation, authorities determined that at least six men in Minnesota were planning to fly to Syria and give information to ISIL as a way to join the terror group.
In this case, it would not be surprising to see that extremely aggressive efforts are taken to pursue convictions. Allegations related to terrorism are among the most severe in the eyes of U.S. law enforcement agencies, and there is typically no expense spared when it comes to seeking penalties for these convictions.
It is important to understand that conspiracy charges are not an indication that a criminal act was completed. Whether the charge is filed in association with supporting a terrorist organization or insurance fraud, it only needs to be proven that someone worked with another party to plan to commit a crime and that just one step was taken to carry out the crime.
Defending against conspiracy charges can require a thorough understanding of state and federal laws governing different types of crimes. Trying to defend against these allegations without legal representation can put a person at a significant disadvantage, particularly in situations like this one where there is a great deal of involvement by federal authorities and issues of national security.
Source: FBI.gov, "Six Minnesota Men Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," April 20, 2015