Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Aggressively Defending Individuals Facing a Mail Fraud Offense
Mail fraud is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C., Section 1341 and is commonly known as postal fraud. Since mail fraud is a federal offense, it's punishable under federal law and the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines carry great weight in federal courts. In a mail fraud case, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) brings the charges, as opposed to California state prosecutors.
Mail fraud is a very serious crime, and a conviction for mail fraud can result in up to twenty (20) years of incarceration in a federal prison and substantial fines. In addition, a conviction can result in extremely serious collateral consequences, such as difficulty securing employment, ineligibility for certain benefits, an inability to rent an apartment, and immigration consequences. As such,
it is essential that you have an experienced Los Angeles mail fraud attorney in your corner who can analyze all of the facts and circumstances of your case, as well as any applicable defenses. Call a federal criminal defense lawyer at Eisner Gorin LLP to thoroughly review all the specific details of your case in order to start developing an effective defense strategy. Do not answer any questions from federal agents without first consulting with an attorney.
The Nature of a Mail Fraud Case
Mail fraud, like many types of fraud cases, is considered a white collar crime, meaning that it is a nonviolent offense that is motivated by financial gain. In many cases, mail fraud is committed by individuals who work in a corporate or professional capacity. Mail fraud is defined by federal law as a knowing or reckless misrepresentation of material fact and utilizing the mail system to deprive someone of money or property.
Mail fraud charges usually come about when a defendant uses a United States post office, or a private mail carrier, to send or receive materials connected with a fraudulent scheme, whether or not the scheme is ultimately successful. Specific schemes that could constitute mail fraud include the following:
- Sending out fake job opportunities to obtain information
- Certain multi-level marketing schemes
- Mystery shopper schemes
- Credit card fraud
- Health insurance fraud
- Ponzi schemes
- Fake charity donation fraud
- Loan schemes involving an up-front fee
- Investment fraud
- Home improvement scams
- Phone inheritance scams
If you are under a federal criminal investigation for mail fraud, it's very important exercise your legal right to remain silent and call a Los Angeles mail fraud defense lawyer at our law firm. Our experienced federal crime lawyers will review your case to start building a solid defense strategy.
Mail Fraud - Elements of the Crime
The federal prosecutor handling a mail fraud case has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt – or a doubt based upon ordinary reason and common sense. In a nutshell, the federal prosecutor must prove the following elements:
- That the defendant devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud or to perform specified fraudulent acts
- That the defendant used the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, the scheme
In order to be convicted of mail fraud, a defendant had to specifically intend to deceive or defraud another individual. Even if the prosecution can prove the defendant participated in a mail fraud scheme, that's not typically enough to obtain a conviction.
The federal prosecutor must also prove the defendant knew about the fraudulent scheme and their specific goal was committing fraud. See related: Fraudulent Conveyance Laws in California - Penal Code Section 154. Consult with a Los Angeles mail fraud defense attorney at our office for more information.
Legal Defenses in Mail Fraud Cases
As in most federal fraud cases, several defenses are available to an experienced Los Angeles federal criminal defense lawyer for defendants charged with mail fraud. The most common defense - lack of specific intent – is very fact specific and is applicable when, under the facts and circumstances of a case, the defendant did not specifically intend to defraud anyone.
Another common defense to mail fraud is “mistake of fact.” This defense is applicable when, under the facts and circumstances of a case, the defendant was mistaken about – or unaware of – certain facts, and did not fully comprehend what was going on. This type of defense can be very helpful in a mail fraud case, where the underlying facts might involve complicated business matters hard to understand. We also provide a strategic appraoch to federal sentencing in order to stay out of federal prison.
Importance of a Federal Criminal Attorney in Mail Fraud Cases
Federal prosecutors are skilled attorneys who understand what it takes to get a conviction. In addition, as a non-lawyer caught up in the federal criminal justice system, you are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to mounting a legal defense. Law enforcement is under no obligation to protect your legal rights and prosecutors are not likely to offer an unrepresented defendant a favorable plea bargain offer.
A skilled Los Angeles mail fraud lawyer will thoroughly analyze your case and determine whether there are any legal defenses available or weaknesses in the prosecution's case that may be exploited. If there are, it may result in your case being dropped, dismissed, or you being acquitted should your case be decided by a jury.
In addition, your case does not have to end up in court in order for the assistance of a federal criminal attorney to have a positive impact on the outcome of your case. An experienced federal crime lawyer can often negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the prosecutor handling your case that avoids the most serious consequences associated with the offense of which you are accused.
Call a Los Angeles Mail Fraud Defense Attorney
A mail fraud conviction can be very costly and can result in significant jail time in a federal prison and significant fines. Moreover, a serious federal criminal conviction on a defendant's record can be very damaging in terms of future job prospects and educational opportunities.
An experienced Los Angeles mail fraud defense attorney at our law firm will be able to examine all of the facts and circumstances of your individual case, make recommendations, and formulate legal defenses. Our federal criminal defense lawyers appear frequently in the Central District of California, the United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Alan Eisner, our law firm partner, is recognized as a federal criminal defense expert. Our legal team has the knowledge and resources to defend you in federal court, no matter the complexity of the charges. A Los Angeles mail fraud defense lawyer from our office will dedicate one-on-one time with you to listen about what happened and will develop a unique and strong defense plan aimed at achieving superior results.