Dallas Mail Fraud Defense Attorneys
Mail fraud is a frequently charged felony under federal law. It parallels another federal crime, wire fraud, in many ways. However, while wire fraud involves using “interstate wire communications,” mail fraud solely involves using the U.S. mail system to defraud others out of their money and property. It can occur when the fraudulent scheme is carried out using any mail service provider, including those operated by the government and private companies.
If you have been arrested or indicted for mail fraud, or if you believe you are under investigation for committing the offense, it will be critically important for you to get help from a Dallas mail fraud defense lawyer with experience defending clients in federal court against mail fraud and other types of white-collar crimes. Contact us today at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP.
With more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and a record of successfully representing clients in federal courts in Texas and states throughout the country, we can help you to understand the federal government’s case against you as well as the options available to you for fighting the mail fraud charges. To learn more, call or reach us online without delay. We are ready to provide a free and completely confidential consultation.
What Is Mail Fraud?
A federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1341, defines the offense of mail fraud. Under the statute, the crime occurs when someone devises or intends to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud or obtain money or property by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or to engage in a transaction involving counterfeit items by using the U.S. mail system to further the scheme. Again, the crime most often involves using the U.S. Postal Service, but it can also involve private “commercial interstate carriers” such as FedEx or UPS.
The four basic elements that the federal government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction for mail fraud are:
- The defendant acted with the intent to scheme or defraud a person or entity.
- The scheme to defraud involved material misstatements or purposeful omissions.
- The fraudulent scheme would likely have resulted in the loss of property, honest services, or money.
- The defendant used the U.S. mail system in some manner to further the scheme to defraud.
What Are Examples of Mail Fraud?
Any form of fraud a person carries out or attempts to carry out through the mail can be prosecuted as mail fraud. A broker who has engaged in “churning,” or making excessive and unnecessary trades in a client’s account for the purpose of collecting fees and commissions, can commit mail fraud by sending letters, account statements, or other documents to the client.
Other examples of mail fraud that can lead to federal criminal charges include:
A person can use the mail to knowingly provide false information to obtain money, property, or other benefits. For instance, a person could be charged with mail fraud if they used a fictitious name and Social Security number or false information about their financial health on an application for a loan or mortgage.
In many types of schemes prosecuted as mail fraud, a person will use deceit to obtain someone’s personal and financial data for their personal gain. An example would be sending a letter to someone stating that they have won a sweepstakes prize or other award and then asking the person to provide their bank account information so the money can be deposited. The person who sent the letter may, in turn, use the account information to steal from the person rather than make any deposits.
A common scheme involves luring investors into investing their money in a company or an investment fund with promises of quick, high-yield returns. However, the returns are not generated by any product the company sells or the fund generating income. Instead, they are paid by later investors. It’s interesting to note Charles Ponzi, whose name is commonly used to label such schemes, faced 86 counts of mail fraud when his money-making scheme was exposed.
What Charges Are Often Related to Mail Fraud?
In some instances, the federal government may be able to charge a person with only a single count of the underlying fraud – securities fraud, perhaps – but numerous counts of mail fraud due to the person’s use of the mail to carry out their fraudulent scheme. That is because each time a person uses the mail to further a scheme to defraud others, it can be charged as a separate crime or count.
Charges that federal prosecutors often bring in tandem with mail fraud include:
If you are facing charges in addition to mail fraud, you would benefit from getting legal assistance as early in the process as possible. At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, we can take immediate action to protect your rights and fight all charges you face.