When an alleged fraud crime involve the United States Postal Service (USPS), a private interstate mail carrier, or any type of electronic communication, federal prosecutors can tack on the charge of mail fraud or wire fraud. While being accused of utilizing the mail, internet, or telephone to commit a crime may not seem like a serious matter, mail and wire fraud convictions can mean up to 20 years in federal prison, or even up to 30 years under certain circumstances.
Mail fraud and wire fraud charges can increase the sentence for a fraud crime conviction or can stand alone if the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to convict you of the underlying fraud crime. In either case, it is critical that you have a skilled and aggressive federal criminal defense attorney handling your case. At Wimmer Criminal Defense Law, we have witnessed firsthand just how serious these charges can be, and we know how to design an effective defense strategy against federal criminal charges. Call today.
Federal criminal law prohibits anyone from using the USPS or an interstate mail service as a vehicle to commit any type of fraudulent scheme. Schemes must involve false misrepresentations and must intend to defraud someone for the wrongful gain of money or property. Some fraud offenses that may use the mail and result in mail fraud charges include:
Many other mail fraud cases involve sending letters that appear to be from the government or otherwise official business, that request the recipient to fill out personal or financial information and send back. The personal information can be used for identity theft or insurance fraud, while financial information can be used for credit card fraud, bank fraud, and other financial crimes.
There is no limit on the type of fraud that must occur for a mail fraud case – only that some fraud occurred and the offender used the mail system. For this reason, mail fraud charges can arise along with a wide variety of underlying fraud charges.
Similar to mail fraud, wire fraud charges can apply to many different situations. For this offense, a fraud scheme must utilize any type of interstate electronic communications, which can include telephone calls, texting or messaging, internet communications, radio, and television.
People utilize wire communications – especially via smartphones or the internet – to attempt many types of fraud schemes. These can include:
If a fraud offense involves any type of electronic communication, you can be sure the prosecutor will try to add on a wire fraud charge.
Both mail and wire fraud convictions can result in up to 20 years in prison and hefty fines, and the sentence will depend on the type and complexity of the fraud scheme, as well as whether others suffered financial harm. If a scheme involves federal disaster relief or financial institutions, the maximum prison sentence increases to 30 years. These penalties can be in addition to any penalties for the fraud crime itself. For these reasons, you should hire a skilled lawyer who understands how to defend against both the mail or wire fraud charge and any coinciding fraud charges.
When someone suffers an economic loss or appears to be the victim of fraud, federal prosecutors often aggressively pursue criminal charges. However, this does not mean that the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to prove every element of mail or wire fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. The right criminal defense attorney will know how to identify and present defenses to challenge the prosecutor’s case against you.
While specific defenses will vary from case to case depending on the circumstances, some possible defenses can include:
Your defense attorney can try to demonstrate that you acted in good faith to try to get a dismissal or acquittal of your mail or wire fraud charges.
You need to speak with a Philadelphia federal mail and wire fraud lawyer right away if you face charges in federal criminal court. Wimmer Criminal Defense Law regularly handles a wide range of federal crimes, including white collar and fraud crimes. If you’ve been arrested by federal authorities, call 215-712-1212 or contact us online to discuss your situation.
The criminal defense attorneys of Wimmer Criminal Defense may be able to provide representation during proceedings. To schedule a free and confidential case review, call today
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