Mail & Wire Fraud Defense Attorney in Naples
Let us ensure that your rights are protected in Collier County, Florida
In the 19th century, the federal government established specific laws concerning the use of the U.S. Postal Service or other commercial delivery services in the commission of fraud. In the 20th century, Congress expanded criminal codes to create wire fraud statutes to address frauds involving electronic transmissions across state and international borders. People who use any analog or digital communications platforms to complete transactions that fraudulently deprive others of their money or property or receipt of honest services could be subject to federal criminal charges. Individuals under investigation for mail or wire fraud could face high fines, lengthy prison sentences and reputational damage. The services of a Naples wire fraud attorney could aid a person in this position.
Legal characteristics of wire fraud
Wire fraud encompasses all communications by radio, television, computers and the internet related to the completion of a fraud across state or international borders.
Some common types of wire fraud are:
- a telemarketer makes false statements to collect payment for something that is never delivered.
- a telephone caller claims to be from the IRS and needs bank account information to collect a tax payment.
- a spam email directs the reader to wire transfer money in order to release a lottery prize.
- a social media post directs a user to a website designed to look like a legitimate company but is actually a fraud.
- wire fraud concerning the coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has served as the latest way for fraudulent actors to deceive people and prey upon their desire for a medical cure or way to prevent infection. Ads that make false promises about Covid-19 treatments can entice people to reveal their personal information and send money to people who do not intend to come through on their promises.
An international scheme inspired by the COVID-19 situation has caused the Attorney General of Florida to warn consumers about this specific fraud threat. The wire fraud generally targets the senior population through Facebook messages sent via the hacked accounts of friends and relatives. The message offers to connect older adults with grants to stay home during the pandemic as long as they send a small payment to initiate the process. These messages coming from friends created an aura of legitimacy that convinced some people to send the money although the grant money never materialized.
This example clearly illustrates the traits of wire fraud. The plan relies on deception. Not only is the offered service false, but the message is delivered via the hacking of a social media account. Because the process takes place on the internet, the offense triggers federal wire fraud laws.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
What is required for wire fraud conviction?
To pursue wire fraud charges against someone, a federal prosecutor will want evidence to satisfy the legal standard for the offense. Wire fraud is defined by the following elements:
- a person participated in a scheme to take money or something of value from a person or organization on the basis of fraud and misleading information.
- a person knowingly participated in the fraud with the intent of deceiving victims for profit.
- the false representations communicated by the person were material to the transaction.
- the false information was communicated by wire, radio, computer, internet or television over state or international lines.
When building a case to satisfy these elements, an investigator may contact a suspect and request an interview. This is the best moment to contact a federal criminal defense attorney in Naples. We can accompany you to the interview and act to protect your rights.
Legal characteristics of mail fraud
Charges of mail fraud may be tacked onto cases that involve other white collar crimes, like bank fraud or money laundering. Any evidence that indicates the use of the mail during the commission of a crime could support a mail fraud charge. A mail fraud may appear similar to legitimate business offers that come in the mail except that they take money without delivering goods or services.
Examples of mail fraud include:
- Mailers selling fake health insurance
- Fake invoices for services
- Fake tax bills
- Collecting money for free government services
- Work-from-home offers that require upfront payment
- Land fraud
- Loan offers that charge an upfront fee
What is required for mail fraud conviction?
Similar to the standards for wire fraud cases, a prosecutor mush present evidence that meets the legal definition of the offense. Federal law establishes that mail fraud has occurred when:
- a person intentionally makes a plan to defraud a person or organization of money or something of value through false pretenses, promises or representations.
- the misrepresentations, promises or false statements materially influence the targeted person or organization to make the decision to complete a transaction.
- a person acted with the intention to take money or property or deprive the target of honest services.
- the services of the U.S. Postal Service or other commercial delivery service were used to conduct the fraudulent scheme.
- seek the advice of a federal criminal defense lawyer
Strong sentencing guidelines accompany most federal offenses. People convicted of mail fraud or wire fraud will face a variety of possible penalties, including fines up to $250,000, payment of restitution, probation and prison time up to 20 years. Convictions that include other related charges, like health care fraud or mortgage fraud, could worsen the sentence. Joffe Law, P.A. is a criminal defense firm in Naples, Florida, where people under investigation or already charged can speak with a federal criminal defense attorney. We provide confidential case evaluations for people who need to develop a thorough defense strategy that vigorously challenges criminal allegations.