Defense Against Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud Charges
Prosecutors often seek wire fraud and mail fraud indictments against defendants when they do not have enough evidence to make other charges stick. Mail fraud and wire fraud counts are also used as add-ons to other charges, in order to increase potential sentences for defendants.
From offices in Washington, D.C., white collar criminal defense attorneys Solomon L. Wisenberg and Adrienne Urrutia Wisenberg defend clients charged with mail and wire fraud as well as those accused of aiding and abetting wire fraud or mail fraud. They have a record of success in complex federal mail and wire fraud cases.
What Are Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud involves use of the U.S. Postal Service, or private carriers, in the commission of a scheme to defraud someone of money or property. Wire fraud involves use of the phone, e-mail, Internet, fax or other form of electronic communication in order to accomplish such a fraudulent scheme. Fraudulent schemes can range from Ponzi schemes to tax evasion to Internet fraud. In order to prove a mail or wire fraud scheme or artifice, the prosecution must establish some trickery or deception on the defendant's part, as well the defendant's specific intent to defraud the victim.
Facts About Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud
- The mail or electronic communication does not need to be essential to the fraud.
- If you personally refer to the scheme once in a phone conversation, you may be at risk of prosecution.
- You do not have to directly wire or mail anything fraudulent. If your fraudulent scheme causes alleged victims to mail or wire you money, for example, you can be charged.
- Each electronic communication or mailing is a separate wire or mail fraud count.
- If you know your employer is engaged in a fraudulent scheme and he asks you to do something as simple as mailing envelopes related to his scheme, you can be charged with multiple counts of aiding and abetting mail fraud — even if you did not know exactly what was in the envelopes and even if you were not otherwise involved in the fraud. Did you only take 19 envelopes to the post office? That could equal 19 mail fraud counts in a federal fraud indictment.
Wire and mail fraud counts are commonly added to indictments charging tax fraud, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, health care fraud, securities fraud, honest services fraud or other types of fraud.
Honest services mail and wire fraud charges, like conspiracy charges, are among the favorite weapons in the federal prosecutor's arsenal, because the concept of honest services fraud is broad enough to cover all kinds of conduct that the government disfavors. And if a federal prosecutor is after you and cannot find a real crime to charge you with, he is likely to seize on honest services fraud as an easier method of getting you out of the way
The United States Supreme Court recently scaled back the reach of honest services fraud prosecutions with its opinion in Skilling v. United States. Unfortunately, the Court did not rule the honest services fraud statute unconstitutional, so we can expect to see continued aggressive use of this tool by the government.
If you are at risk of mail or wire fraud charges, you need to speak to a lawyer who is skilled in federal white collar criminal defense. To arrange a consultation about your case, please contact Solomon L. Wisenberg and Adrienne Urrutia Wisenberg. They lead the white collar criminal defense team in the Washington D.C. offices of Barnes & Thornburg LLP.