The Severity of Mail Fraud Accusations
Mail fraud makes it a crime to use any public or private interstate mail carrier or service to carry out a scheme to defraud. A fraud is the knowing misrepresentation, omission, or misstatement of a material fact to induce another to act to their detriment.
Of course, not all misstatements are material. For a fact to be material, it must be capable of influencing the decision maker to whom it is made. For example, if a seller uses interstate mail to represent that a land sale involves lakefront property, and the purchaser discovers it is actually desert property, than a material fact has been misrepresented to induce the buyer to purchase. In this situation, the use of interstate mail in the making of the misrepresentation brings the crime under the umbrella of the federal jurisdiction.
Texas Wire Fraud Defense Lawyers
Since the use of the mail is what federalizes the criminal conduct, this offense has been used by federal law enforcement for prosecuting many activities, including: political corruption, organized crime, identity theft, and gambling. A conviction for mail fraud can result in a fine, up to twenty years in prison or both. If the mail fraud affected a financial institution, the statute of limitations is increased and the penalties may be enhanced.
The Stakes When Wire Fraud Is Alleged
Wire fraud makes it a federal crime for any person to use interstate wires – any electronic communication, including the telephone, fax, e-mail, Internet, television, and radio – in a scheme to defraud another. As in mail fraud, the misrepresentation must be material; meaning, the misrepresentation is capable of influencing the decision-maker.
Wire fraud is broadly defined. The government does not have to prove that the person knowingly used interstate wires. For example, if a person in Texas uses e-mail to defraud fellows Texans, he could be prosecuted for wire fraud because the e-mail server is housed out of state.
A wire fraud that affects a financial institution has enhanced penalties and a longer statute of limitations.
At Hilder & Associates, P.C., we protect the rights of clients when they are being investigated for or charged with mail and wire fraud crimes.
The moment you are notified of an investigation for mail or wire fraud is the time to retain experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel. Contact us at 713-234-1416 or toll free at 888-659-8742.