Mail fraud is a serious federal crime that occurs when you use the United States Postal Service (USPS) or a private interstate mail service to defraud someone of property or money. As a federal offense, it is punishable by significant fines and up to 20 years in prison.
If you are being investigated for, or have been charged with, this crime, you need an experienced federal defense attorney representing you and protecting your rights. It is especially important to talk with a skilled federal defense attorney before making any statements to investigators or getting entangled in the federal criminal justice system.
Attorney David Haas will put his years of experience as a federal prosecutor and expertise as a defense attorney to work for you. He will fight aggressively for your rights and protect your interests at every step of the process.
Mail Fraud Schemes
Federal mail fraud laws can apply to any scheme to defraud someone of property or money that uses or involves the United States Post Service (USPS) or a private interstate mail service. Generally recognized mail fraud schemes include:
- Ponzi schemes – These schemes involve mailing a type of chain letter or similar communication that asks recipients to send money to specific individuals and forward the letter on to others. The person who originates the letter can receive numerous payments, but people further down the chain never receive anything.
- Fraudulent solicitations – These schemes make false claims or promises to trick people into giving away money or their credit card information. Mailed material that promises getting rich quick, winning huge sweepstakes, or low-cost health care coverage if you send money or your credit card information are all examples of mail fraud.
- Franchise fraud – This usually starts with a salesperson or mailed ad that promises great success in business ownership if you invest in a franchising license. If you show interest in the opportunity, you’ll be given more information on the benefits of this particular franchise. However, after you pay for the licensing rights for the franchise, you won’t see or hear from the salesman again, nor will you get the support or products you were promised.
- Mail-order fraud – This involves using mail-order catalogs or other similar mailings to get people to send in order forms with money. They typically receive nothing back for their money or something worth much less than what they ordered.
- Identity theft and other types of fraud– This type of scheme involves sending out letters that pretend to be from an official government agency or from a trusted financial institution. When people send back their personal information, it is used in mortgage fraud, bank fraud, credit card fraud, or other forms of identity theft.
Mail Fraud Charges
Theft crimes are typically charged in state courts, but when the United State Postal Service (USPS) or a privately-owned interstate mail service is involved in defrauding someone of property or money, the crimes can be charged at the federal level, with wide-ranging implications. Many people don’t realize that you can face these serious federal mail fraud charges even if you if you do fully execute a fraud scheme. You only have to have used mail to initiate or further your scheme.
Moreover, even if the fraud scheme were initiated over the phone, via e-mail or on the internet, if the USPS or an interstate mail service was involved at any point in the scheme, you can be charged with and convicted for mail fraud. In fact, when federal prosecutors believe that the mail was used in a criminal scheme, they will often tack on mail fraud charges to broaden their case and increase their chances of getting a conviction.
Fighting Mail Fraud Charges
At Haas Law, we will thoroughly investigate the charges against you, looking for holes in the prosecution’s case and developing strategies essential for building the best possible defense. The strategies will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, but there are some that can generally be effective for fighting mail fraud charges:
- You did not intend to defraud anyone. – A conviction for any kind of fraud typically requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you participated in the scheme with knowledge of the fraud. If you unintentionally made a fraudulent statement or misrepresentation through the mail, it is not enough to constitute criminal mail fraud. Often the prosecution’s circumstantial evidence can be countered with evidence of good faith showing that at the time the alleged fraud scheme occurred, you honestly believed your actions were legitimate and lawful.
- The false pretenses involved in the alleged mail fraud weren’t material. – A conviction for mail fraud also requires that the fraud involve some type of material misrepresentation. In other words, the fraud must have been such that a reasonable person could be persuaded by your misrepresentation to consider sending money or taking other suggested actions. Other immaterial, minor misrepresentations that do not persuade someone to act do not constitute mail fraud.
Before determining the best defense strategy, Attorney David Haas will examine the circumstances surrounding your case, evaluate your options, explain them in detail and work to resolve your situation in the most satisfactory way possible. Throughout the entire process, the focus will be on aggressively defending your rights and protecting your interests.
Contact Haas Law for a Strong Defense Against Mail Fraud Charges
A conviction for wire fraud can be devastating to you and your family, so please don’t hesitate to get help from a qualified, experienced federal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you need help when you’re being investigated, after you’ve been charged, or on appeal, call Haas Law. We will put our knowledge and experience to work fighting for you.
In federal fraud cases, having an attorney with federal experience is especially important. Good communication with federal agents and prosecutors is important for developing the most effective defense, so hiring a former federal prosecutor who knows the government’s prosecution strategies and can “speak their language” is your best protection.
You have rights, and you deserve to have them vigorously protected. Contact us at 407-755-7675 or submit our “Tell Us What Happened” form online as soon as possible so we can counter the prosecution with a powerful, strategic defense.