Los Angeles Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Mail fraud is a
federal crime that involves the use of the mail system in the United States to carry
out or attempt to carry out a scheme to defraud others of money or property.
A defendant convicted of mail fraud may face up to 20 years in federal
prison and a fine. If the alleged fraud targets or involves a financial
institution, a fine of $1,000,000 and/or a 30-year prison sentence may
be imposed. Considering the severity of mail fraud penalties, one can
clearly see why these are such serious charges.
If you believe you are under investigation for mail fraud or have been
contacted for questioning or taken into custody by federal agents in relation
to a suspected mail fraud scheme, you should waste no time in contacting
an attorney. You have the right to legal counsel if you are arrested;
exercising this right may end up making the difference between a life
behind bars and a life of freedom. Now is the time to consult with a
Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Martinian & Associates INC. We stand ready to challenge mail fraud
charges using all of the tools at our disposal.
Defending clients in the face of federal charges requires a considerable
amount of experience and resources, not to mention a willingness to fight
tooth and nail against some of the toughest and most skilled prosecutors
in the nation. Fortunately, our team does not hesitate when it comes to
asserting our clients' constitutional rights inside and outside of
federal court. We know what to look for in finding the weaknesses in the
prosecution's case and can use even slight mistakes or errors to our
clients' favor. You can learn more about our federal defense services
by calling for a consultation.
Federal Mail Fraud Charges Explained
Title 18 United States Code (USC) § 1341 defines mail fraud and outlines
the penalties that may be imposed if a defendant is convicted. According
to this law, mail fraud occurs when a person devises a scheme to commit
fraud and, in order to carry out this scheme, "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 any "private
or commercial interstate carrier," or takes/receives any such article.
There are three primary aspects to a mail fraud charge that must be proven
to secure a conviction against a defendant:
- The defendant had created a plan or scheme to commit fraud;
- The defendant sent or placed an item (letter, postcard, etc.) in the mail; and
- The defendant had the intent to commit fraud.
Whether the scheme was successful has no bearing on mail fraud charges.
It is enough that the scheme was attempted using the mail system, as long
as one or more items were put in the system in an attempt to carry out
Mail fraud may be charged independently or may be charged along with other
criminal charges, such as
conspiracy or tax fraud. If a person committed another federal or
white collar crime and used the mail system in an attempt to carry out the scheme, mail fraud
charges may be filed in addition to any other charges. This can greatly
increase the penalties that a defendant faces and further complicates the case.
Challenging Mail Fraud Charges in Los Angeles
The outlook for a defendant facing mail fraud charges may seem grim, but
it is important to remember that the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor
in these cases. The prosecution must prove, beyond all shadow of a doubt,
that the defendant is guilty. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can use
any available angle to build a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury
to help a client seek an acquittal. To learn more,
contact our Los Angeles law firm today. We look forward to seeing how we can help you.