Mail Fraud Charges: Why You Need an Experienced Federal Crimes Lawyer
Mail fraud is a serious federal offense that carries severe penalties, including hefty fines and years in prison. If you’ve been charged with mail fraud, having an experienced federal crimes defense attorney on your side is crucial. Here’s what you need to know about mail fraud charges, and why hiring a knowledgeable lawyer is so important.
What is Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud refers to any scheme to intentionally deprive someone of money or property using the US Mail or private/commercial carriers like FedEx or UPS. The federal mail fraud statute, 18 U.S. Code § 1341, makes it illegal to use mail services to carry out fraudulent schemes.
To be convicted of mail fraud, prosecutors must prove two key elements:
- You knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money or property. This could involve schemes like embezzlement, insurance fraud, identity theft, advance fee scams, or selling misrepresented goods or services.
- You used the mail in furtherance of that scheme. This includes sending or receiving any mailings like letters, packages, or documents related to carrying out the fraud.
Mail fraud charges can arise in many contexts, like healthcare fraud, telemarketing scams targeting seniors, home foreclosure rescue schemes, and more. If convicted, you face substantial fines and years behind bars.
Penalties for a Mail Fraud Conviction
A federal mail fraud conviction exposes you to severe criminal penalties:
- Up to 20 years in federal prison
- Fines up to $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for organizations
Penalties increase to up to 30 years in prison and $1 million fines if the fraud affected a financial institution or involved disaster relief funds.
Restitution to victims is also common. And you’ll have a felony conviction on your permanent record, which hurts employment and other opportunities.
Why You Need an Experienced Federal Crimes Lawyer
Facing federal mail fraud charges is daunting. The government devotes significant resources to investigating and prosecuting these cases.
An experienced federal crimes defense lawyer levels the playing field and protects your rights. Here’s how a knowledgeable attorney can help:
Examine the Strength of the Government’s Case
Your lawyer will thoroughly analyze the prosecution’s evidence and look for weaknesses in their case. For example, they may challenge whether the mailings were sufficiently related to the alleged fraud scheme. Or if the statute of limitations has expired, which is 5 years for mail fraud.
Advise You of Possible Defenses
A skilled attorney knows the most effective defenses against mail fraud charges. For instance, they may argue you lacked criminal intent or were unaware of the fraudulent scheme. Or they can assert an “advice of counsel” defense if you acted on your lawyer’s advice.
Negotiate with Prosecutors
Your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially get charges reduced or even dismissed pre-trial. They may also negotiate sentencing leniency if you decide to plead guilty.
Handle Pre-Trial Motions
Before trial, your lawyer will file motions asking the judge to throw out evidence, dismiss charges, or take other actions beneficial to your case.
Represent You in Court
At trial, your attorney cross-examines witnesses, presents evidence, makes arguments to the jury, and generally fights to undermine the prosecution’s case. They know how to effectively defend against mail fraud in court.
Guide You if Convicted
If convicted, your lawyer advocates for the most lenient sentence. They can also advise you about appeals options and the process for requesting a presidential pardon.
Consult a Federal Crimes Lawyer Right Away
Don’t go it alone against federal prosecutors. Consult an experienced mail fraud defense attorney immediately if facing charges. They have the skills and knowledge to protect your rights and future. With so much at stake, having a top lawyer in your corner can make all the difference.