Wrongfully Accused of Mail Fraud? You Have Options.
Sensationalized through gangster movies, mail fraud is the more common white collar Federal crime which receives both media, and courtroom, attention. Penalties are stiff, investigations are thorough, and defendants can expect nothing short of flawless prosecutorial effort in bringing justice to the U.S. Postal Service and those victimized through it.
Like all Federal crimes, one can easily get ensnared into an investigation without knowledge of why they’re being investigated. So if you’ve been notified that an ongoing effort to bring you down is underway, listen to how defense attorneys will work to upend unjustifiable criminal complaints.
Mail fraud is a ‘companion’ charge
The DOJ defines mail fraud as having two components: a scheme to defraud or deprive an individual out of something of value, and executing the scheme via courier such as USPS, UPS, and so forth. Oftentimes when prosecutors are struggling with what to charge individuals, they’ll decide on mail fraud and another crime, such as conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud or securities fraud.
In 2018, fewer people still send bulk mail scams, although they’re still an omnipresent threat with so many people trading U.S. consumer databases across the globe. Most people are using electronic mail, chats, Craigslist and other popular social mediums to perpetrate frauds.
Proof must be irrefutable
Providing a preponderance of evidence that someone indeed used the postal system to perpetrate fraudulent activity is much easier said on paper than done in court. That said, whether you actually executed the alleged crime or not is immaterial in proving intent. In fact, phone conversations where references were made to a potential scheme may be enough to prove you had some level of interest in engaging in mail fraud.
What’s worse is both Arizona, and the government, can charge you separately for mail fraud along with whatever accessory charges best match the allegations or crimes. Regardless, charges are mere allegations until they’ve been proven by a jury of peers or pleaded to.
Potential sentences for mail fraud are often the best deterrent; first-time offenders may get up to 20 years per count without respect to prior criminal history. This doesn’t include what Arizona may impose.
Does the accused have meritorious defenses that can be raised? Of course:
- Defendant was living with an individual committing fraudulent acts on their property, with no prior knowledge of said acts;
- Defendant was under duress, entrapped or coerced to commit the crime by law enforcement;
- The act was unintentional, and not for financial gain;
- Defendant had no idea they were committing mail fraud or any underlying offense that led to mail fraud;
These and other defenses may exonerate the accused, although speaking with detectives could jeopardizes one’s case credibility if done in the absence of legal counsel.
Why you should never self-incriminate
Irrespective of one’s guilt or innocence, never give an investigator information they ‘claim’ will help in your defense. Your defense attorney will help in your defense without uttering a word. Giving law enforcement information is like giving an armed intruder bullets to shoot you.
Many components of mail fraud can be charged as accessories, such as mailing an employer’s letter that contained fraudulent pretenses or picking up Western Union payments for your ‘boss’ who received those funds from fraudulent mailings. Any crime committed over telephonic devices, including frauds, sex acts, theft or similar crimes can be charged as wire fraud if something of value was taken while using said devices.
As soon as you’ve been informed that mail fraud charges are being pursued or investigated, seek competent legal advice. Not only will counsel assist during questioning, they’ll thwart any efforts made by law enforcement to implicate guilt when none actually exists.
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