Fraud is a criminal offense that involves intentionally deceiving another person with the purpose of causing that person harm, and there are a number of fraudulent acts that can result in federal charges being filed, including forging documents, writing bad checks and making false insurance claims, among other types of fraud.
Mail fraud is a serious crime, and if you are convicted of mail fraud in federal court, you could face a federal prison term of up to 20 years, even if you didn’t actually take anyone’s money.
There are also certain factors that can result in enhanced sentencing for mail fraud, with possible penalties of up to 30 years in federal prison and up to $1 million in fines.
If you are facing charges for federal mail fraud, the stakes are higher than ever.
Contact our mail fraud attorney at Seyb Law Group today to discuss your defense options.
We are a team of expert mail fraud defense attorneys and we can help you put together a solid defense in your federal fraud case.
AFFORDABLE MAIL FRAUD ATTORNEY
Allegations of mail fraud carry a social stigma that can follow you for the rest of your life and being accused of mail fraud can have a significant impact on your reputation, even if you are never officially charged with the crime or found guilty of any wrongdoing.
If you believe you are under investigation for mail fraud, our attorneys can work to prevent you from ever being arrested or formally charged.
If you are already facing criminal charges for mail fraud, our attorneys may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to get the charges reduced to a lesser offense or possibly even dismissed altogether.
Whatever the circumstances of your mail fraud case, you need an attorney on your side who has experience with the federal criminal justice system and a proven track record of success at trial.
Any time you are facing charges for a crime like mail fraud, it is vital to the success of your case that you hire a skilled defense attorney who has a clear understanding of federal law and how it applies to your case, as well as the defenses available to you in fighting mail fraud charges.
At Seyb Law Group, our lawyers are intimately familiar with the inner workings of the federal criminal justice system and we will ensure that you understand the nature of the federal crime you are facing and the potential defenses we can present on your behalf in court to fight the charges.
Our legal team has more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we offer potential clients a free initial consultation with no obligation to hire our firm.
Contact our criminal defense law firm today and let us put our expertise to work for you.
FEDERAL MAIL FRAUD
Mail fraud is a federal crime that involves using the United States Postal Service or private mail carriers in a scheme to defraud others of money or property by making false promises or misrepresenting goods or services.
When the law prohibiting mail fraud was first enacted in 1872, it made it illegal to use the U.S. Postal Service to commit such acts.
However, the law has since been expanded to include the use of television, radio or the Internet (which constitutes the related crime of wire fraud) or private mail carriers, like the United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (FedEx) to accomplish a fraudulent scheme.
The government can even convict someone of mail fraud and send them to prison for years even if no one falls for the fraudulent scheme.
The required element of mail fraud cases is the intent to defraud, which means whether or not money was actually taken isn’t the issue.
What matters is whether someone tried to take someone else’s money by making false promises or statements.
Defendants facing allegations of federal mail fraud can be charged with committing the fraud themselves or aiding and abetting fraud by helping another person to carry out the fraudulent scheme (i.e. taking envelopes related to their employer’s mail fraud scheme to the Post Office and mailing them), even if they are not directly involved in the scheme themselves.
To be arrested and prosecuted for mail fraud, you do not even have to directly mail anything fraudulent; if your scheme causes others to mail you money or something else of value, you can face mail fraud charges.
You can also be charged with federal mail fraud if you use the mail after the fraud is complete, so long as your use of the mail is in some way related to the alleged fraud.
For example, if you sell someone a house based on false representations and you later have the court send the buyer the deed to the house, this may still constitute mail fraud.
Federal Mail Fraud 18 U.S.C. § 1341
The federal government has a number of tools at its disposal for prosecuting individuals suspected of committing mail fraud, the most powerful being 18 U.S.C. § 1341.
Under this federal statute, fraud is defined as the “Misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact or matter or the scheme to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses involving a false statement, assertion, half-truth or knowing concealment concerning a material fact or matter.”
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1341, any person who devises or intends to devise a scheme to defraud someone using the mail for the purpose of receiving money or property can be held criminally liable for mail fraud and prosecuted in federal court, and each mailing is considered a separate mail fraud count subject to individual punishment.
In addition to facing criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 1341, individuals charged with mail fraud are often also charged with other criminal offenses related to but separate from the crime of mail fraud, possibly including:
- Money laundering,
- Tax fraud or tax evasion,
- Identity theft,
- Credit card fraud,
- Healthcare fraud,
- Federal securities fraud, or
- Wire fraud.
In fact, while they are two distinct criminal offenses, mail fraud and wire fraud are often charged together, either as “add-ons” to other criminal charges, in order to increase the penalties for a conviction, or as a backup charge when the prosecutor doesn’t have enough evidence to make other more serious charges stick.
PENALTIES FOR A FEDERAL MAIL FRAUD CONVICTION
Any fraud scheme that involves the use of the mail is a federal offense under 18 U.S.C. § 1341, and the penalties for a federal mail fraud conviction are severe, even for individuals with little or no criminal history.
A conviction for mail fraud carries a potential sentence of 20 years in federal prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 (for individuals) or $500,000 (for organizations).
However, there are certain factors that can result in enhanced penalties for a mail fraud conviction.
For example, if the fraudulent scheme targeted a financial institution or federal disaster relief funds, the federal prison sentence can be increased to 30 years and the fine increased to $1 million.
FEDERAL MAIL FRAUD DEFENSE
A mail fraud conviction carries severe penalties that can put your future and your freedom at risk, but just because you have been accused of committing mail fraud does not mean you will be convicted of the crime.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can present a number of defenses on your behalf to fight mail fraud charges and ensure that the prosecution is held to its requisite burden of proof.
As in any criminal case, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and in order to be convicted of mail fraud, the federal prosecutor assigned to your case must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you made materially false promises or misrepresentations with the intent to defraud another person, and used the mail to accomplish the fraud.
The following are the elements of the crime the prosecution will be required to prove in order to convict you of mail fraud:
- A scheme existed for the purpose of committing fraud;
- You knowingly and willfully participated in the fraudulent scheme; and
- You used a public or private mail service to further the scheme.
Best Defense Strategies in Federal Mail Fraud Cases
Mail fraud is one of the most common fraudulent schemes committed in the United States and one of the most common federal criminal charges, and you may find yourself caught up in a mail fraud scheme and facing federal prosecution without even realizing you committed a crime.
Fortunately, there are a number of valid defense strategies your attorney can use to challenge the prosecution’s case against you, including the following:
- Lack of intent – If the alleged mail fraud was a mistake and you did not intend to deceive someone, you would not be criminally liable under federal law.
- Entrapment – If a representative of the government compelled or pressured you to commit an act of mail fraud in hopes of making an arrest, your attorney may be able to get your case dismissed.
- Insufficient evidence – If the prosecution is not able to prove all elements of the crime of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, your attorney can argue that there is not enough evidence to prove your guilt.
- Constructive fraud – If the fraud you allegedly committed was constructive (i.e. the result of reckless business conduct) and not intentional, you may be able to avoid a mail fraud conviction.
- Representations were not material – If your attorney can show that the alleged misrepresentations amount to mere statements of opinion, not statements of fact, and are therefore not “material,” you cannot lawfully be found guilty of fraud.
- Illegal search and seizure – If the government obtained evidence against you using an illegal search or wiretap, your attorney may be able to get the evidence thrown out.
HOW HIRING A MAIL FRAUD DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
The federal government wields a great deal of power in investigating and prosecuting mail fraud cases and will use every resource at its disposal to convict you of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341.
However, just because you have been arrested for or charged with mail fraud does not automatically mean you will be found guilty of any wrongdoing.
Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group are committed to representing the rights of individuals accused of mail fraud and we will do everything in our power to challenge the government’s case against you, including launching an independent investigation into the fraud allegations and interviewing expert witnesses to build a solid defense on your behalf.
Defending yourself against federal mail fraud charges can be a daunting task.
Allegations of mail fraud typically involve several parties – the defendant or defendants, the victim or victims, and the mail delivery service – and this can make prosecuting and defending this type of crime particularly complex.
Due to the complicated nature of mail fraud crimes, these cases can take a great deal of time to investigate and bring to trial, and the sooner you enlist the help of a qualified federal criminal defense attorney, the better chance you have of getting a favorable outcome in your case and avoiding the harsh consequences of a mail fraud conviction.
CONTACT OUR MAIL FRAUD DEFENSE ATTORNEYS TODAY
Mail fraud prosecutions can be complex and confusing, and they typically involve complicated financial information and other documents that must be reviewed and analyzed by an expert, which is where we come in.
Our criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group can work with financial experts and other expert witnesses to strengthen your position and help you beat mail fraud charges, or get your charges reduced to a lesser offense with less severe penalties.
If you have been charged with federal mail fraud, it is critical that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney who can carefully examine the facts of the case and help you understand your defense options.
Our attorneys at Seyb Law Group believe in protecting the rights of the criminally accused and we will work tirelessly to help you get the best possible outcome in your criminal case.
Contact our criminal defense law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.