Federal mail fraud is a criminal offense that falls under the jurisdiction of the United States federal government. It is governed by 18 U.S.C. Section 1341, which outlines the elements of the crime.
Elements of Federal Mail Fraud (18 U.S.C. Section 1341):
To establish a case of federal mail fraud, several elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Intent to Defraud: The defendant must have intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud someone of money, property, or honest services.
- Use of the Mail: The defendant must have used the United States Postal Service or a private or commercial interstate carrier as a means to further the fraudulent scheme. The use of mail can be to send materials, money, checks, or communications related to the scheme.
Examples of Federal Mail Fraud:
- Investment Fraud: A person advertises a fake investment opportunity promising high returns. They mail out glossy brochures to potential victims, convincing them to send money to a fictitious investment company.
- Phishing Scam: An individual sends out fraudulent emails claiming to be a bank, requesting recipients to provide their personal and financial information. The scammer then uses this information for identity theft or unauthorized transactions.
- Lottery Scam: A person sends letters to individuals congratulating them on winning a lottery, but to claim their prize, they need to send an upfront fee. Once the fee is sent, the scammer disappears.
Penalties for Federal Mail Fraud
A conviction for federal mail fraud can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The specific penalties vary based on the amount of money involved, the extent of the scheme, and the defendant’s criminal history. Defendants could face fines of up to $250,000 (individuals) or $500,000 (organizations) and imprisonment for up to 20 years or more, depending on the circumstances.
Defenses to Federal Mail Fraud
Several defenses can be raised against federal mail fraud charges, including lack of intent and absence of use of the mail. This is why it is important to consult an experienced attorney to determine the most effective defense strategy based on the specifics of the case.
Glasgow & Olsson Can Help Your Defense Against Federal Mail Fraud Charges
Federal mail fraud is a serious offense with potentially severe consequences. Understanding its elements, examples, penalties, and available defenses is essential for anyone facing such charges. If you are facing federal mail fraud charges, seeking legal representation from experienced attorneys is crucial. At Glasgow & Olsson, located in Schaumburg, Illinois, our team is well-equipped to handle federal criminal defense cases. Attorney Thomas Glasgow, a former prosecutor, brings a unique perspective to your defense strategy. Drawing on his knowledge of criminal prosecution, Attorney Glasgow can construct a robust defense to protect your rights and advocate for the best possible outcome.
If you are in need of expert legal representation, the attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson are ready to provide the guidance and defense you need to navigate the complex legal landscape. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us now for a confidential and non-judgmental consultation.