While some may consider mail fraud a seemingly mild form of white collar crime, the federal government takes it very seriously. Although this isn’t a violent crime, it does carry heavy penalties, if convicted. The laws regarding mail fraud are so strict that you don’t even have to be successful in defrauding somebody through the mail in order to be charged or convicted. The prosecution just has to prove that there was intent to defraud using the mail. If you’ve been charged with mail fraud, the sooner you talk to a criminal defense attorney who has white collar criminal defense experience, the better.
White Collar Crime
Mail fraud is a type of white collar crime that involves the defrauding of another person through means of the mail or some type of mailing service. This crime is typically investigated through a series of paper trails, like many white collar crimes and does not characteristically involve violence or the threat of violence. Usually, there is some type of money-making scheme involved with this type of white collar crime. Another common component with mail fraud is a deliberate material misrepresentation.
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What About UPS and FedEx?
Some people are still under the misconception that you have to use the United States Postal Service in order to commit mail fraud. Like, if you were to use some other private delivery system, you wouldn’t be committing mail fraud. You can still be charged with mail fraud if you were using UPS, FedEx or some other type of delivery service. Even though you’re not using the United States Postal Service, you’re still using a delivery system that carries mail across state lines. Mail fraud can involve any type of interstate carrier company, whether it’s a government one or a private one.
Material Misrepresentation in The Mail
In most cases, to be charged or convicted of mail fraud, there has to be some type of material misrepresentation. This is a lie, misrepresentation or some type of falsehood that causes a person to take an action that they wouldn’t normally take. Sometimes, this comes in the form of a letter from a private sales company misrepresenting itself as an official government correspondence. Now, we’ve all seen letters that have a ‘fake look’ about them, but on closer inspection are actually just sales letters. A material misrepresentation is more than just an ‘official looking’ letter, it’s a letter that reports to be official, when in actuality, it’s not.
Was There an Attempt to Defraud
Whether somebody was actually defrauded or not might not make a difference in your case. If the prosecution can prove that there was an attempt with intent to defraud, that’s likely good enough. You don’t actually need to have been successful in defrauding anybody. If there was a clear and intentional attempt to defraud, that’s likely good enough for the prosecuting attorney.
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Mail fraud is a very serious federal offence. Whether there were any victims or not, if convicted of mail fraud, you’re looking at felonies and hard time. Just because this is a white collar crime and there isn’t typically any violence associated with these charges doesn’t mean that you won’t face serious prison sentences and hefty fines if convicted. If convicted, you’ll also have to deal with the consequences of being convicted of a felony for the rest of your life.
Penalties Associated With Mail Fraud
The most severe penalty associated with mail fraud is incarceration. Each mail fraud offense can get you up to 20 years in a federal correctional facility. Depending upon the unique and complicated circumstances of your case, you could face additional time as well. Also, fines associated with mail fraud are very high. If the mail fraud involved financial institutions or federal disaster relief, you could be looking at fines of up to $1 million per offense.
When to Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re facing mail fraud charges or any other type of white collar crime charges, you need to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. Don’t take these charges lightly. The federal government doesn’t. The sooner you talk to a lawyer who has proven and successful white collar crime defense experience, the better off you’ll be. You could be facing decades behind bars if convicted.
If you or somebody you love is facing white collar crime charges like mail fraud, contact the skilled and experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.