United States Code §§ 1341 and 1343 govern the federal crimes of mail and wire fraud. Essentially, these federal statutes prohibit the use of mail and wire, such as telephone, email, and fax, to further a fraudulent scheme.
Under 18 U.S.C. Section 1341 (Mail Fraud), the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
- having devised or intending to devise a scheme to defraud (or to perform specified fraudulent acts), and
- use of the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, the scheme (or specified fraudulent acts).”
The elements of wire fraud under Section 1343 directly parallel those of the mail fraud statute but require the use of an interstate telephone call or electronic communication made in furtherance of the scheme. Mail and wire fraud are punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years and/or a fine. If the fraud involves a financial institution, then the crimes are punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years. Additionally, these charges often appear along with more serious charges of fraud, theft, deceit, forgery, and RICO charges. Usually, the person is charged with mail and/or wire fraud in tax fraud cases, public funds fraud, HUD fraud, Social Security Benefits Fraud, etc. The government often charges an individual with wire fraud even when the mail/wire communication was collateral to the actual fraud.
Anytime you are fighting the federal government, it is an uphill battle. The government works very professionally and has unlimited resources. If you or your loved one is charged with Mail or Wire Fraud in federal court, it is crucial that you retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Attorneys at LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM have experience successfully negotiating with federal prosecutors or presenting a solid defense at trial. Each case is unique, but your attorney may be able to argue that there was a lack of intent to commit a crime, or that one of the elements is not satisfied. For example, there might not be a “scheme” to defraud.
If you have been charged in San Diego federal court, contact LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM. Attorney Anton Vialtsin has experience protecting those accused of federal and California crimes. Our office is conveniently located in downtown San Diego. You can reach our office by calling (619) 357-6677 or by sending an e-mail.
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