Avoid Conviction When Facing Mail Or Wire Fraud Charges
When a scheme to defraud involves the United States mail or transferring funds through the internet, it can be elevated to the federal level as either mail fraud or wire fraud. A conviction for either of these charges can carry up to 20 years in prison, or it can be up to 30 years if the violation relates to a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency or affects a financial institution.
The federal offense of mail fraud makes it a crime for the U.S. Postal Service to be used as a vehicle to carry out any fraudulent scheme which attempts to obtain money or valuables unlawfully. This statute is often used as a basis for separate federal prosecution of what would otherwise have been only a violation of state law.
To understand your mail or tax fraud cases and build a strong defense if you have been charged, turn to the Law Office of Ann Fitz. The firm has a solid reputation among people whose cases have been turned around. Through attorney Fitz’s creative and vigorous representation, many have obtained favorable case outcomes.
What Does Mail Fraud Look Like?
Examples of mail fraud include:
- Corporate crimes, such as embezzlement, theft or money laundering, involve a fiduciary employee of a company fraudulently writing a check to him or herself and then mailing the check for receipt and deposit. With money laundering, a fraudulent corporation is usually set up to “launder” or clean money derived from illegal activities. How the money is distributed after it is laundered determines how the crime will be charged.
- Telephone marketing schemes involve an organization soliciting large sums of money from an individual over the phone, usually to be mailed in installment payments, under the fraudulent guise that the individual has won a cash prize or other tangible reward.
- Nondelivery or misrepresentation of mail-order items, where an individual will order an item, make a payment, and never receive the item or receive something that is defective or otherwise deficient.
- Ponzi schemes or pyramid schemes in which an individual receives a chain letter through the Postal Service which asks them to send money to a list of names before forwarding the letter on to more people. These Ponzi schemes allow the person who started the scam to gain enormous wealth but leave the people at the bottom of the pyramid with nothing.
Mail fraud is a common white collar criminal offense prosecuted by the courts because there is no specific requirement for the type of fraud or misrepresentation that has been carried out, only that something related to the scheme (such as a check, a contract, or an application for a loan or credit) was sent through the mail.
When The Charge Is Wire Fraud
Mail fraud and wire fraud are similar. Wire fraud refers to someone’s fraudulent activity through electronic communications between one or more states.
Examples of wire fraud schemes include the following achieved electronically:
- Advertising containing false claims
- Falsified insurance benefit claims
- Fraudulent investment traps
- Misrepresentations in the sale of used automobiles
- Loan applications containing false information
- Fraudulent issuances of bonds
- Presenting checks for which there are no funds available
- Bribery and kickbacks
Federal “Catch-All” Fraud Charges
Mail fraud and wire fraud are the “catch-all” fraud charges employed by the federal government because the mail and wire fraud statutes are exceptionally broad and overlap with a surprising number of other federal criminal statutes.
Bank fraud, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud, securities and commodities fraud, fraud in foreign labor contracting, and health care fraud can all be charged as mail and wire fraud offenses. Wire fraud is a particularly common charge in cases involving public corruption and financial crimes.
Both mail and wire fraud require a scheme to deprive a victim of money or property by using deception or deceit – for example, false statements, misrepresentations, or concealment.
A Fraud Defense Attorney Who Has Your Back
At the Law Office of Ann Fitz, the defense lawyer is ready to tackle your mail fraud or wire fraud case in detail. The prosecution must prove that you intended to commit the crime. Attorney Fitz will discover evidence that can become the building blocks of an effective defense strategy on your behalf.
During the investigation stage, we encourage you to stay silent and not incriminate yourself to preserve your best options. These options depend on the strength of the government’s case against you. For example, if the government’s evidence is weak, the charges may be dismissed. We have also been successful in arguing for a reduction in prison time or house arrest based on individual circumstances.
Get Your Defense Underway
For more information on mail fraud or wire fraud or to schedule a free initial consultation with attorney Ann Fitz, reach out at your earliest convenience. Call her firm at 561-932-1690 or use her contact form.