If you are facing federal criminal charges for mail fraud, Bristol C. Myers is the experienced federal criminal defense attorney you can trust to thoroughly investigate your case and provide an innovative and relentless defense. Call now 512-478-2100 or connect online.
Elements of Mail Fraud
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, makes it a crime for anyone to use the mails or any private or commercial interstate carrier in carrying out a scheme to defraud. These cases are often investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The Government must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. That the defendant knowingly devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud someone else. A “scheme to defraud” means any plan, pattern, or course of action intended to deprive another of money or property or bring about some financial gain to the person engaged in the scheme. It can also involve any scheme to deprive an employer, shareholders, citizens, or a government agency of the intangible right to honest services through soliciting or accepting bribes or kickbacks.
2. That the scheme to defraud employed false material representations or false material pretenses, or false material promises.
3. That the defendant mailed something or caused something to be sent or delivered through the United States Postal Service or a private or commercial interstate carrier for the purpose of executing such scheme or attempting so to do.
4. That the defendant acted with a specific intent to defraud.
Defenses to Mail Fraud
Experienced federal criminal defense attorneys know a common defense to mail fraud is to demonstrate that the defendant had a good faith belief that the allegedly fraudulent representations were true when made. The “materiality” or importance of the allegedly false representations is also an area for the federal criminal defense attorney to explore. Depending on the duration of the alleged scheme and the timing of its discovery, the statute of limitations may also be a useful defense.
The amount of loss or intended loss can be a hotly contested issue at sentencing. Generally speaking: the greater the loss, the longer the potential punishment. If the scheme jeopardized the soundness of a financial institution, it may lead to a longer sentence.