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Whether you recognize it by name or not, you’re likely more familiar with mail fraud than you may realize as a few cases – such as those involving Charles Ponzi and Bernard Madoff – serve not only as landmark cases, but whose very names have now become synonymous with the crimes they committed.
Legally speaking, however, mail fraud is a felony offense wherein the accused, either an individual or business, voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme or artifice to defraud another individual or entity of money or property using the United States Postal Service or any private or commercial interstate mail carrier by offering a product, service, or investment opportunity that does not live up to its claims.
Some examples of mail fraud include sweepstakes and ‘free’ prizes or vacations, government lookalike mail, fraudulent invoices, foreign lotteries, charity, insurance, medical or internet fraud, fraudulent inheritances, fake check scams and more.
If you were arrested for a federal mail fraud crime in Miami, FL, it is important you contact a law firm with experienced attorneys. Hubbs Law attorneys E.J. and Erika Hubbs have handled thousands of fraud crimes in their career and will do everything in their power to give you the best defense in your case.
In addition, E.J. Hubbs is board certified in criminal trial law which means he is qualified as an expert in criminal trial law, an honor held by less than 1 percent of the attorneys in the State of Florida. Hubbs Law handles all types of fraud cases in South Florida including Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Monroe County, and Palm Beach County.
Types of Mail Fraud Charges in Florida
The elements of mail fraud are the same as wire fraud so in order to convict the defendant, federal prosecutions have to prove all of the following four essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant knowingly devised or participated in a scheme to defraud someone, or obtain money or property, using false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises;
- The false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises were about a material fact;
- The Defendant intended to defraud someone; and
- The Defendant used (a.) the United States Postal Service by mailing or by causing something to be mailed or (b.) a private or commercial interstate carrier by depositing or causing something to be deposited meant to help carry out the scheme to defraud.
It’s important to note that proof that a defendant created a scheme to defraud a reasonable person is sufficient evidence that the defendant intended to deceive, but a defendant who intended to deceive the ignorant or gullible by preying on their infirmities is no less guilty as both can prove criminal intent.
Penalties for Mail Fraud
While mail fraud penalties vary depending on the exact nature of the fraud committed, the penalties are very serious. Generally, under federal law, mail fraud can carry a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment with an applicable fine, however, if the victim of the mail fraud was a financial institution or is in connection with a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, the sentence can be up to 30 years in federal prison with a $1 million fine. Further, if the offense involved telemarketing, it may carry enhanced imprisonment penalties.
More specifically, the penalties for mail fraud may include any combination of the following according to their aggravating circumstances:
- Fines as high as $250,000, with fines up to $1 million for mail fraud involving financial institutions, or federal disaster relief, or other special victims
- Restitution to repay the victims for their losses as a result of the fraudulent acts
- Probation of one to five years
- Imprisonment of up to 30 years for each offense, with the most severe penalties for mail fraud involving financial institutions, federal disaster relief programs, or other special victims.
Hubbs Law, P.A. Mail Fraud Legal Defense Strategies
Being investigated or charged with mail fraud does not mean you will be found guilty of the offense. You may have legal defenses to your case or may be able to mitigate your sentence.
In fraud cases, the government must prove that he Defendant knowingly devised or participated in a scheme to defraud someone. Sometimes, the Defendant is not aware of the scheme to defraud. For example, often time these schemes will involve businesses or organizations that are operated by top level members of the conspiracy to committ fraud. Sometimes the lower level employees will not be aware of the fraudulent scheme.
In addition to the lack of knowledge defense, a possible defense to this crime also includes alleging that the government cannot prove that the fraudulent was based on a “material fact” or that the promises made were not in intentionally fraudulent and they were made in good faith.
If you are charged with Mail Fraud, you need experienced legal representation immediately from a Miami attorney experienced in federal criminal defense. Hubbs Law attorneys, Erika and E.J. Hubbs, are both former prosecutors with substantial trial experience. In addition, E.J. Hubbs is board certified in criminal trial law, an honor held by less than 1 percent of attorneys in Florida.
Hubbs Law defends clients charged with all types of fraud crimes in all areas of South Florida including Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Monroe County, and Palm Beach County.
The Miami federal attorneys at Hubbs Law offer free consultations on mail fraud cases. At your consultation, our attorneys will thoroughly evaluate your case and inform you of any defenses you may be entitled to.
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