Defending Against Federal Mail And Wire Fraud Charges
Mail and wire fraud are two of the broadest federal statutes under which the federal government may use to prosecute intentional schemes to defraud people of their money and property. Since, almost all business conducted today involves the use of the internet, telephones, and the mail, it’s easy for these legitimate activities to be converted into criminal charges and tacked onto another offense.
Prosecuting criminal charges for mail and wire fraud treads a fine line between a civil lawsuit for a business agreement gone south and a criminal Ponzi scheme involving the use of the internet, interstate calls and wire/mail transfer of funds. At the core of any conversion of a civil suit to a criminal suit is the prosecution’s burden to establish that the accused intentionally, knowingly and willfully deceived and defrauded another person out of money or property.
The good news is that these are very defensible lawsuits. In a criminal suit, not only must intent and a plan to defraud be proved, but it also must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. Mail and wire fraud suits are usually complex and demand a large commitment of time and resources by the U.S. Attorney’s office. They can be fought and won.
If you were indicted for a federal crime involving mail and wire fraud, or another white collar crime to which those charges have been added, do not despair. Contact Attorney Paul Morgan at Paul Morgan Law Office, PLLC, at 713-969-5007.
Defining Mail And Wire Fraud
Fraud is theft by deception and misrepresentation. The core elements of wire and mail fraud are identical. The four essential elements are set forth in 18 USC § 1341 (mail) and § 1343 (wire) as follows:
- that a person intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another of money,
- that the person did so with the intent to defraud,
- that it was foreseeable that interstate wire communications or mail would be used, and
- that interstate wire or mail was in fact used.
In the evaluation of whether to bring wire and mail fraud charges, the beginning of the business activity, how the owners developed and grew the business, how investors were procured, how goods were sold, and money was received, and how investors were repaid are crucial elements to the defense of the case.
There are common criminal acts that trigger the U.S. attorney’s office to examine a business, individual or group of individuals to see if the wire and mail fraud are occurring. An attorney practiced in defending suits in federal court means the difference between freedom, hefty fines and jail times. You’ll need an attorney who believes in the reality that a good business can fail for many reasons. Although investors sometimes lose their money, it doesn’t mean fraud occurred.
Common Criminal Acts Involving Wire And Mail Fraud
Other examples of crimes that commonly carry mail and wire fraud charges are:
- Tax evasion
- Money laundering
- Internet crimes
- Online fraud
- Pyramid schemes
- Securities fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Criminal conspiracies
- Bank fraud
- Health care fraud
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Federal sentencing guidelines are complex and are usually tailored to the specific circumstances of the case being prosecuted. The guidelines set a base offense level determined by the amount of money out of which victims were defrauded. It then examines aggravating circumstances to the implementation of the fraudulent scheme. These collateral offenses substantially increase prison sentencing levels.
The government will increase the length of the prison term based on the number of victims, whether a relocation to evade law enforcement took place, whether a substantial portion of the fraudulent scheme took place outside the U.S., if identify theft occurred, or whether someone suffered serious bodily injury or death.
Contact Attorney Paul M. Morgan Immediately
Have you been indicted, or do you think there is a chance you might be charged with a criminal offense involving mail and wire fraud?
Contact Paul to schedule your confidential meeting to discuss the specifics of your situation and the options available to protect and defend you against such broad-based charges. Call 713-969-5007 or email the firm today for initial consultations.