In too many instances when filing criminal charges, prosecutors will tack on any additional charges they possibly can. Unfortunately, those additional charges may often significantly increase the penalties you may face if you are convicted. One charge that is commonly added to a number of is that of mail or wire fraud.
These charges allege that a defendant enacted a fraudulent scheme to intentionally deprive another person of money, property, or honest services using communications via the federal mail system or wire. Wire includes interstate electronic communication methods such as telephone, internet, fax machines, radio, and television. Mail and wire fraud have been federal crimes since 1872 under 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and 18 U.S.C. § 1343, respectively.
What constitutes mail or wire fraud?
In order to convict you of mail or wire fraud, a federal prosecutor must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You has intent to commit
- A “scheme or artifice to defraud” or the obtaining of property by fraud
- Using a mail or wire communication.
These elements may apply to a wide variety of situations, in many of which the alleged fraudster tries to obtain a person’s personal information for identify theft purposes. Common mail fraud schemes include sweepstakes or lottery fraud, employment fraud, and fraud against senior citizens. Common examples of wire fraud include telemarketing schemes, email phishing scams, and false television advertisements.
Furthermore, mail and wire fraud charges may also be added to white collar crimes, such as securities fraud, money laundering, tax fraud, forgery, and embezzlement.
Mail or wire fraud convictions may result in extensive fines, restitution, and/or imprisonment of up to 20 years. If the alleged crime was against or affected a financial institution, the sentence may include fines up to $1,000,000, and imprisonment up to 30 years.
Contact a Philadelphia White Collar Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested for or charged with mail or wire fraud, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia white collar attorney at The Zeiger Firm immediately. Often, federal officials will investigate fraud crimes extensively before issuing an arrest warrant or charges. A criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights during such investigations so, if you have been called in for questioning, you should contact dedicated attorney Brian Zeiger as soon as possible. Call today at 215.546.0340.