Mail Fraud Laws - 18 U.S.C. § 1341
If you are being investigated for the white collar crime of mail fraud the investigation is going to revolve around two specific points:
- Did one willfully and intentionally devise or intend to devise a scheme or means to defraud another person of money or property
- Was the fraud carried out using the postal system in some way
Mail fraud is covered under 18 U.S.C. § 1341.This statute is often used as a basis for a separate federal prosecution of what would otherwise have been only a violation of a state law.
Being investigated or charged with mail fraud is a serious federal offense and it is vital that anyone being investigated for it obtain the help of a capable Los Angeles criminal defense attorney that can fully assist you regarding the allegations.
Mail fraud under 18 U.S.C., Section 1341 is commonly known as postal fraud and similar to wire fraud. Since it's federal offense, it's punishable under federal law and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines that carry great weight in Los Angeles federal courts.
In a mail fraud case, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) files charges, as opposed to California state prosecutors.
Mail fraud is a serious crime and if convicted, you could be facing up to twenty 20 years of incarceration in a federal prison and substantial fines.
Additionally, a conviction will often result in substantial collateral consequences, such as finding employment and ineligibility for certain benefits.
Therefore, it's critical to retain an experienced California federal criminal defense lawyer who can closely analyze all of the circumstances of your case and know how to apply effective defenses.
Don't answer any questions from federal agents without first consulting with a criminal lawyer.
Elements of the Crime in a Mail Fraud Case
The federal prosecutor on the mail fraud case has the burden of proof to obtain a conviction. The case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, or a doubt based upon ordinary reason and common sense. They must prove the following elements:
- You devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud or to perform fraudulent acts
- You used the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, the fraudulent scheme
It's important to note that in order to be convicted of mail fraud, you must have specifically intend to deceive or defraud another person.
In cases where the prosecutor can show you participated in a mail fraud scheme, it's not typically sufficient to secure a conviction. In other words, the federal prosecutor must also prove you knew about the fraudulent scheme and you goal was to commit fraud.
Fighting Federal Mail Fraud Charges in California
Prosecutors and investigators will be aggressive in pursuing charges and it can be a fairly long, drawn out and nerve wracking process. If an individual is convicted of mail fraud they face stiff fines or imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both.
If the violation affects a financial institution like a bank, the fine can go as high as $1,000,000 or imprisonment up to 30 years, or both.
Any federal investigation is a serious matter and it is not a situation where you want to go it alone. Our legal staff knows how federal prosecutors think and act in this kind of an investigation, and can base our defense on our extensive experience.
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, you can be assured that you will be working with a knowledgeable attorney from our firm who will help facilitate the best outcome possible regarding the investigation.
Contact our law firm at the onset of a mail fraud investigation. You will be able to meet with an accomplished criminal defense lawyer who can guide you through the process and advise you on what your best legal options are.