Mail and Wire Fraud
There is a wide array of schemes people may develop to defraud others, but using the mail or telecommunications services makes the offense extremely serious. These crimes are almost always charged at the federal level under US statutes on mail fraud and other schemes, which means the criminal process is more complex and the penalties are considerable. Your best strategy to fight the charges is consulting with a Fort Lauderdale fraud lawyer, but read on for an overview on how these cases work.
Federal Law on Mail and Wire Fraud: Criminal fraud is defined as using false statements, deception, or other misconduct to obtain financial gain from someone. It’s a broad term covering many different schemes, but there are specific activities that constitute mail and wire fraud.
Mail Fraud: If you place any communication or message with the US Post Office for purposes of defrauding another person, you may be charged with mail fraud.
Wire Fraud: Using phone lines or electronic communications networks to accomplish a fraudulent scheme could lead to an arrest for wire fraud. The definition of the offense includes such acts as:
- Telephone calls;
- Communicating through email, social media, internet ads, blogs, a website, and any other online messaging; and,
- TV ads and info-mercials.
Special Considerations in Mail and Wire Fraud Cases: There are some legal subtleties and details that may apply in your case, such as:
Beyond using US Mail, you could be charged with mail fraud by dispatching an item through UPS, FedEx, and other private carriers.
- The communication doesn’t need to be in writing or spoken. Mail and wire fraud is unlawful even when it involves images, signals, music, sounds, or any other content that conveys a message.
- Conspiracy is also a crime, so the fact that you didn’t complete the offense is irrelevant.
- Every fraudulent message transmitted through mail or wire channels could be a separate offense, exponentially increasing your criminal liability.
- Mail and wire fraud charges are often added as counts to other offenses, such as those involving taxes, securities, liability insurance, health care, financial transactions, and many more.
Criminal Penalties for a Conviction on Federal Wire and Mail Fraud Charges: The punishment for a conviction will vary greatly, depending on multiple counts, the identity and number of victims, your past criminal history, and your role in the scheme. Potentially, the criminal punishment for a conviction on wire or mail fraud charges may include:
- A maximum prison term of 20 years;
- A fine up to $250,000 per count, if you were the only participant in the crime; and,
- A maximum fine of $500,000 per count for your business, if that was the basis for the charges.
Contact a Florida Fraud Crimes Defense Attorney to Discuss Your Legal Options
If you’re under investigation or have already been arrested for fraud, retaining experienced counsel is critical. For more information, please contact defense attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule an appointment at our office in Fort Lauderdale. We can get started on developing a defense strategy after we review the circumstances of your case.