Mail Fraud Defense Lawyer

What is Mail Fraud?

Any crime of fraud that uses the United States Postal Service in any way will be considered an independent violation of federal law; this has been true since the 1870s. Therefore, most defendants will fight federal charges of “mail fraud” alongside other criminal charges.

Sometimes this becomes a strategy of prosecutors who want to add as many criminal charges as possible to their case against the defendant. In other situations, federal prosecutors (Assistant United States Attorneys) will charge someone with “mail fraud” when they do not feel they have a strong enough case to prosecute on other crimes they have investigated, knowing that the federal mail fraud statute will get a fraud case into federal court. Either way, these are federal cases involving the stringent federal penalties that come with convictions under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Mail fraud is a very serious charge.

Title 18 of the United States Code Section 1341 defines “mail fraud” as:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

Basing its position on federal court precedent, the United States Office of the Attorney General holds that the following two elements make up the charge of federal mail fraud:

  • having devised or intending to devise a scheme to defraud (or to perform specified fraudulent acts), and
  • use of the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, the scheme (or specified fraudulent acts).​


What is the best strategy against federal charges of mail fraud?

Mail fraud cases can be complex and sophisticated. In addition to an experienced fraud defense lawyer, industry experts in fields like insurance, real estate finance, banking, investment securities, or other financial areas will be needed to make sense of the prosecution’s case and to scrutinize the documents, witness testimony, and outside research.

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