Mail fraud is one of the most frequently prosecuted federal laws because it applies in many situations and to anyone who uses the mail or interstate delivery services. Although mail fraud might not seem as severe as robbery or drug trafficking, federal prosecutors often list it along with other charges in order to create additional hurdles for the defendant. Mail fraud is a serious felony, which is why you need to mount a strong defense if you are facing these charges and want to protect your rights.
What Federal Prosecutors Must Prove in Mail Fraud cases
When it comes to mail fraud cases, prosecutors are only required to prove that the defendant had a plan to defraud and used the mail or other interstate means to carry out the crime. Prosecutors must convince the jury that the defendant was part of a scheme or devised a plan to defraud another person of money, property, or “honest services.” Courts have defined fraud as conduct that breaks a legal or moral duty to another person, causing damages.
The case of Pereira Et Al. v United States established that the government only needs circumstantial evidence that the mailing took place and the defendant caused it to happen to establish mail fraud. This means prosecutors don’t even need to have evidence showing the defendant mailed the document. Additionally, routine mailings can be enough evidence to produce a mail fraud charge, as well as innocent mailings containing false information if they are shown to be a part of a scheme.
Defenses Strategies for Mail Fraud Charges
- Arguing Prosecutors Failed to Meet the Burden of Proof: You can challenge the efforts of the federal government by filing motions to exclude and suppress evidence against you and argue prosecutors didn’t provide enough evidence of mail fraud to meet the burden of proof.
- Good Faith: You can argue that you acted in good faith and with honest intentions. This requires proof you made a mistake, accident, or other innocent reason that shows you acted without the required malicious intent for a mail fraud conviction.
- Statute of Limitations: If the prosecution failed to file the case against you within five years, then you can move to dismiss the case based upon the statute of limitations.
Speak to Our Mail Fraud Attorneys About Your Case
If you have been taken into custody by federal agents concerning a mail fraud scheme, then you need an attorney right away. At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we are committed to using our extensive legal insight and more than 50 years of combined experience to help clients of all backgrounds defend their rights. Reach out to our law firm to discuss how to build a strong mail fraud defense strategy.
Call us today at (800) 462-7160 to request your free consultation with one of our seasoned federal crimes lawyers.