Mail Fraud Cases
If you have been accused of violating the federal mail fraud statue, 18 USC 1341, then you need an experienced New York mail fraud defense attorney. The penalties for violating the federal mail fraud statute are severe. The maximum penalty for violating 18 USC 1341 is 20 years in prison and a fine. Of particular note, the prison sentence can be aggravated to 30 years, and the fine can be aggravated to a maximum of $1,000,000 if the fraud relates to a disaster area or emergency as per 42 USC 5122.
If you or someone you love has been accused of violating the federal mail fraud statute, please call our experienced New York mail fraud defense attorneys today.
Other factors that can further enhance the penalty include: the involvement of a bank, telemarketing schemes deliberately targeting vulnerable people of an advanced age, abuses of confidence, and lies regarding acts to benefit a charity. A violation can also result in the civil and criminal forfeitures of what the government deems to be the fruits of the crime. The things forfeited may include bank accounts, luxury goods, securities, real property, jewelry, boats, and other valuables. To add insult to injury, these properties and goods are typically auctioned for a fraction of their value. An experienced mail fraud lawyer can help potentially reduce the severity of these penalties.
The elements of mail fraud are as follows: 1) a plan to cause a fraud through lies about important information; 2) with intent to cause a fraud; 3) by means of mail, private package carriers, and wired telecommunications to progress the plan; 4) that caused or would have caused the loss of financial means, or goods and services. If you believe that you may be in danger of being charged with mail fraud, or you are unhappy with your current attorney’s performance, please call our mail fraud defense attorneys to discuss your circumstances.
The first element of mail fraud is a plan to cause a fraud through lies about important information. This sort of conduct generally involves taking something from another person by lying, cheating, chicanery, or embellishment. Conduct that meets the first element of mail fraud is considered by the courts to be something that falls beneath honest. Courts find that this sort of conduct transgresses the common decency that reasonable people enjoy in their daily lives. Courts have found acts that are calculated to fool average people satisfy the first element of mail fraud. What is of critical importance is that there is no need to show that the defendant successfully stole from or deprived the defendants.
Although the statute is silent on the requirement that the content of the fraud be important to the decision making process the US Supreme Court decided that the legislature in fact intended to adopt a requirement in the mail fraud statute, that the lie was about something that was important to the decision making process in executing the fraud. Courts generally look to what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances, and the fact that a victim relied on the statements made by the defendant weighs heavily in favor of the court finding that the statements were important to the decision making process.
The second element of mail fraud is the intent to cause a fraud. In order to evaluate this element, courts generally look to a purposeful act by the defendant specifically to trick or scam with the objective of taking money from the victim and enriching one’s self. This is distinguishable from the sales tactic of “puffing”. Puffing is essentially making statements of opinion. Examples of puffing may include saying something like “I think this is an excellent product, it’s so nice I’d buy it for my family” or “This is the best investment vehicle I have ever heard of, in fact its so excellent, I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.” Urban myths perpetuated by TV shows often portray circumstantial evidence as evidence of a lower standard. The reality is quite different. In fact, the government often uses circumstantial evidence to prove this element of mail fraud. If you think that circumstantial evidence that has been brought against you is strong and your attorney is not satisfactory, you should contact our office right away to discuss your options.
If you or someone you love has been charged with mail fraud, please call our experienced New York mail fraud lawyers today. We may be able to mitigate the severity of your charges, get your charges reduced, or get them dismissed. Give us a call for a free consultation today.