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defending against mail fraud allegations lawyers

June 30, 2020

There are federal criminal laws that can be applied to many different types of criminal activities. They cover a broad range and are often used by prosecutors to their advantage. An example of such laws are the federal mail fraud statute.

Mail Fraud Laws
These laws are designed to any type of offense involving fraud and utilizing the United States Postal Service (USPS) or any interstate mail service that is privately-owned. Should a federal prosecutor think mail was a tool used in a criminal scheme, they will add on a charge of mail fraud. People should understand that using the mail to commit a crime can result in significant penalties as well as other types of criminal charges. In certain situations, people who have gotten mail fraud charges and also charged with RICO violations.

Mail Fraud Schemes
Anyone who uses any type of interstate mail carrier or USPS in the commission of false misrepresentation, wrongful gain, or as a way to defraud others, has broken federal law. There are many types of fraud schemes designed to use delivery services or the USPS.

*Corporate Offenses – It is common for fraud crimes to come from within corporations. This could involve embezzlement, money laundering, and more. Many of these crimes utilize mail in some way to promote their criminal activity.

*Fraudulent Solicitation – This involves people being presented with fraudulent promises or terms so a criminal can obtain money from them. This type of solicitation could involve promises of low-cost health insurance or credit cards and more. These promises always require an advance fee. It is also common for individuals to receive solicitations through the mail. People send back the requested amount of money and never get anything in return.

*Ponzi or Pyramid Schemes – A person could receive a chain letter or some type of communication asking them to send money to certain individuals and forward the letter to more people. The individual who starts the scam could receive many payments. Unfortunately, the people at the bottom of the pyramid won’t get anything.

*Mail-Order Fraud – This happens when people receive catalogs or order forms for items. When people return an order form with their payment, they may receive nothing, a defective item, or an item worth much less than they anticipated.

Punishment
It could be very severe for individuals convicted of mail fraud. Punishment will depend on the circumstances of the mail fraud.

Jail – There is always a good chance a person will be incarcerated after being found guilty of mail fraud. Each offense could result in a person being sent to federal prison for up to 20 years. When a crime involves certain elements or specific victims, the penalty can be even more harsh. A fraud scheme involving federal disaster relief or a financial institution could result in a sentence of 30 years per offense.

Fines – These are usually very high. In some cases, a person convicted of mail fraud could be given a fine of $250,000 or more. If the fraud involves financial institutions or federal disaster relief, a fine of $1 million or more per offense could happen.

Defense Strategies
A defense strategy against an accusation of mail fraud is determined on an individual case by case basis.

Misrepresentations Not Material – Mail fraud must include some form of material misrepresentation. This a specific recipient or reasonable person who would believe a misrepresentation designed to get them to send money or take some type of action. A minor misrepresentation that doesn’t influence an individual to act may not be considered mail fraud.

Lack Of Intent – In order to obtain a conviction of mail fraud, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual intentionally committed fraud. Should someone have unintentionally made a fraudulent statement or misrepresentation using the mail, it isn’t enough to establish mail fraud.

Mailed Items Don’t Establish Fraud – Courts have held things sent through the mail are not central or crucial to a fraud scheme. They could be only incidental. The mailing of an item could be completely unrelated to committing fraud.

Anybody who is charged with mail fraud should immediately hire an experienced federal defense lawyer. They know how to protect their client’s rights in this situation and build a strong defense. An experienced lawyer will know how to get the best possible result.

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