Are you facing federal mail fraud charges? The time to begin defending yourself is now. Call Suhre & Associates, LLC for immediate assistance. Our experienced federal crimes attorneys can help you secure the very best outcome in your criminal case and protect your future.
We offer a free initial case assessment, so don’t hesitate to give our law office a call to arrange yours today. We have attorneys on call 24/7 to discuss your criminal defense matters with you in confidentiality.
Why Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer If I’ve Been Arrested For Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud charges are incredibly serious. It’s also one of the most commonly charged federal offenses. In fact, the crime is so broad that it’s often called a prosecutor’s best friend. So, in order to beat mail fraud charges, the best thing to do is enlist the help of an attorney with extensive experience handling these types of complex federal matters.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, our criminal defense attorneys know that your future is on the line. We are prepared to invest whatever time, resources, and manpower are necessary to help you during this time. As we navigate your criminal case, we will:
- Scrutinize how law enforcement and federal prosecutors have handled your case, beginning with your arrest and up through grand jury proceedings to determine if your rights have been violated in any way
- Lead an exhaustive independent investigation into your alleged mail fraud offense, with the aid of experts
- Gather and analyze evidence, including anything recovered during the discovery phase, in search of information that is beneficial to your defense
- Handle all discussions, communication, and negotiations with federal prosecutors, and
- Have our accomplished trial attorneys prepare to argue your case before a federal jury.
We are prepared to do whatever we can to defend you. We’ll search for exculpatory evidence and also attack the federal government’s case against you at every turn. Time and time again, our tenacity and dedication help us get evidence dismissed, charges dropped, and not guilty verdicts in court.
Give our law firm a call or connect with us online to learn more today.
What is Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud is a white-collar crime, codified under 18 U.S. Code § 1341. You can face federal criminal charges for mail fraud if you “having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses” intend to cause “any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service.”
In very simple terms, mail fraud refers to using (or intended to use) the United States Postal Service or another delivery service as part of a fraudulent scheme.
Here are some common examples of mail fraud:
- Bill creates a fake non-profit organization and mails out pamphlets asking for donations that he will inevitable pocket.
- Sue sends out a mailer telling recipients that there is an inheritance waiting for them. All they have to do is send in their bank account information to have the money deposited. Sue intends to use the bank information to drain their accounts.
- Phil creates flyers that advertise phony job offers. He’s arrested before he has a chance to mail them out. However, since he had intended to use the USPS, he can face charges for mail fraud.
There are two primary elements of mail fraud:
- You have a scheme or a plan to defraud someone of money, property, or honest services, and
- You use the USPS or another delivery service (e.g., FedEx, UPS) as part of that scheme.
The government will have to establish that you’re guilty of each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Let’s take a look at what they’ll have to prove.
A Scheme or Plan to Defraud
Mail fraud must involve some scheme or plan to defraud another person. There’s no one definition for the term “defraud.” Instead, it’s a term that’s open to some interpretation. Courts have explained that defrauding someone can be compared to cheating. Others have defined defrauding to mean a breach of a legal or moral duty that’s owed to someone else, and causing damages in the process.
You must have a scheme or a plan in place to defraud. This is more involved than simply having thought about doing something. You must have taken steps and shown intent to construct “a scheme reasonably calculated to deceive persons of ordinary prudence and comprehension.”
Depriving Another Person of Money, Property, or Honest Services
Your scheme to defraud must involve one of three things: money, property, or honest services. Money and property are fairly straightforward. What are “honest services,” though? The relevant part of the statute reads that mail fraud can include schemes designed to “deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.”
This language was actually added to the federal mail fraud statute long after it was first written. Initially, it was designed to help curb local and state corruption. For example, it was designed to target politicians who would take a bribe and do things that aren’t in the interest of the voters who put them in office.
Honest services, however, can be broadly defined to include acts by private individuals that deprive another person of honest services they’re owed. For instance, let’s say that you’re an electrician in Lousiville. You regularly submit bids to Agency Construction when they seek subcontractors to work on their various projects.
However, you’re always beaten out by Sam, even though you’re almost certain that your bid is for less money. You learn that Sam always gets the contract because he’s the brother of the guy at Agency who’s in charge of collecting and choosing subcontractors. In submitting a bid, you’d expect that your proposal would receive fair and honest consideration. You could argue that fact that Sam always wins, despite the fact that your bid is superior, deprives you of honest services.
Use of the USPS or a Delivery Service
So, you have to have a scheme to defraud another person. That scheme must involve defrauding them of money, property, or honest services. It must also involve a plan to mail something or use a delivery service to further your scheme.
This tends to be the easiest element for the government to prove. That’s because you don’t actually have to mail anything. The fact that you planned to mail something or use a courier like FedEx is enough.
There have even been instances where prosecutors have pointed out that a defendant accused of mail fraud uses the post office for their business regularly, and that’s been sufficient to prove this part of the offense.
Federal Mail Fraud Penalties
Under federal law, mail fraud is a felony offense. The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison. You could also be sentenced to a term of probation and potentially face fines of anywhere between $250,000 and $1 million for each count of mail fraud.
Factors that might influence a sentence include:
- Whether you acted alone or with other people
- What your specific role in the fraudulent scheme was
- How much money was involved in the fraudulent scheme
- How much harm and damage was caused by the scheme
- How long the scheme has been ongoing, and
- If you have a criminal record or not.
The larger your role in a mail fraud scheme, the more severe the punishment.
In addition to criminal penalties, a federal mail fraud conviction can also have collateral consequences. These are repercussions that will exist simply because you have a federal felony conviction on your record. Potential consequences include:
- Loss of professional licenses, employment, and credibility
- Ineligible to hold public office, and
- Difficulty securing financial loans or assistance.
The only way to stop these things from happening is by defending yourself as best you can. At Suhre & Associates, LLC, our federal crimes attorneys are here to help whenever you need it. Simply call our law office to schedule a free consultation to learn more.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Federal Mail Fraud Charges?
Even though mail fraud is one of the most commonly charged federal offenses, prosecutors will still have to prove that you are guilty of the crime. This involves convincing a finder of fact (judge or jury) that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a high standard of proof. Suhre & Associates, LLC will work diligently to make the prosecution’s job even more difficult.
After a careful investigation, we’ll raise any argument in your defense that makes sense. This might include:
- You didn’t have an intent to defraud anyone
- There was no scheme or plan in place
- You did not use or even consider using the postal service or another courier
- You’ve been falsely accused or mistakenly identified
- You acted under force or duress, or
- Your rights have been violated in some way.
Attacking the government’s case and evidence can be quite as beneficial. If there’s evidence to suggest that your arrest was unlawful, that a search and seizure was conducted illegally, or that your rights have been violated in some other way, we’ll bring that to the court’s attention. If the court agrees, it might toss evidence or, better yet, dismiss the charges against you.
Arrange a Consultation With Our Federal Mail Fraud Attorneys
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC for immediate legal assistance if you or someone you love are facing federal mail fraud charges. Our accomplished team will carefully review your case, explain your rights, and help you fight to protect your future. Your first consultation is free, so call now.