Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud
Wire fraud and mail fraud comprise a significant number of the federal indictments related to fraudulent financial transactions. Advances in technology have changed how business and finance activities are conducted and have made it easier for someone to commit financial fraud. If someone is found guilty of either of these criminal activities, he or she faces severe penalties of up to 30 years in prison and up to $1,000,000 in fines.
Most wire frauds are committed through conspiracy, which is when two or more individuals willfully conspire to commit a crime. Conspiracy itself is not a crime but is often an element of other criminal activities. Wire fraud occurs when:
- The person voluntarily devised or took part in a scheme to defraud another person or entity out of money;
- That person then conducted this scheme with the intent of defrauding others;
- That it was reasonably foreseeable by that person that interstate wire communications would be used to complete this fraud; and
- That the person did use interstate wire communications to commit the crime in question.
The details of wire fraud can take many guises but often includes promising the delivery of a product or service, accepting money for these items and then delivering a substandard product or nothing at all.
The interstate wire communications can be a wire, bank to bank, or other electronic transfer of funds from one person to another. The fact that funds are crossing state lines changes the status of the crime from state to federal.
Defending Wire Fraud
The federal government often uses the federal code as a dragnet to try and catch as many people as possible, even though several may be innocent. However, in conspiracy cases such as wire fraud, not all parties to a transaction may be aware of what the other parties have done. To defend someone accused of wire fraud, we have successfully argued that:
- Our client did not know the individual who committed the actual fraud; or
- There is no evidence that our client willfully conspired with the other(s) to commit the wire fraud.
We aggressively represent our clients and force the government to prove every element of the crime. If conspiracy can’t be proven, then there is no case for wire fraud.
Mail fraud may or may not include a conspiracy and is the defrauding another person or entity by means of using a postal service. Mail fraud is commonly used committed to achieve wrongful financial gain, and the victims of this crime can be individuals, businesses, financial institutions and local, state and federal governments.
This criminal offense hinges on using the postal service, which automatically makes it a federal crime. To commit mail fraud, the person must:
- Have devised some sort of scheme to defraud others; and
- Used the mail to advance the efforts of that fraud.
A common mail fraud scenario is when an employee uses a company or employer’s credit card or banking information to make purchases that appear to be for the business, but are in fact for personal gain.
Defending Mail Fraud
There are many ways to defend someone against the charge of mail fraud. In the situation where they used the employer’s credit card or other information, we might work to prove that the purchase was legitimate or there was some other valid reason for the purchase. Demonstrating an underlying mental health component, such as PTSD, substance abuse, depression, etc., can be used as a defense to the crime as well. We review the facts of each case and prepare the defense strategy appropriate to the situation.
Hire an Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with wire fraud or mail fraud, contact us immediately. This is a serious matter and you need a certified criminal defense attorney who practices in the federal court system to best represent your interests.