DC Mail and Wire Fraud Lawyer

Mail and wire fraud are federal offenses that can carry lengthy prison terms and hefty fines for a conviction. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of misconceptions about this common type of white collar crime. Clearing these myths can help people understand or avoid running afoul of this serious federal statute.

If you are facing a charge, already, hiring a Washington DC mail and wire fraud lawyer can ensure that your rights and protected and legal defenses are raised against these serious accusations. Call and schedule an appointment with a skilled fraud attorney to start weighing your potential legal options.

The Federal Law Against Mail and Wire Fraud

Unlike many crimes that can be committed in the District of Columbia, mail and wire fraud are federal offenses, rather than state charges. This means the federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice will pursue the charges. These federal prosecutors usually have far more resources to use than local ones, drastically raising the stakes.

The Long Arm of Federal Prosecutors

Because mail fraud and wire fraud are federal offenses, the allegedly fraudulent activity does not have to happen in the District of Columbia, or even in the U.S., to lead to charges. All that is necessary to trigger federal jurisdiction is for the activity to negatively impact someone in the U.S.

Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud are Different

A common myth about mail and wire fraud is that they are the same offense. They are not, though they both involve fraudulent activity. What constitutes “fraudulent activity,” though, is overwhelmingly broad: It includes almost any type of dishonest conduct aimed to obtain someone else’s money or property. This means that the same fraudulent act can lead to both mail fraud charges and wire fraud charges.

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 1341, and covers fraud in all of its forms, if that fraud uses either the Post Office or private delivery companies like UPS or FedEx. A crime of fraud becomes mail fraud, even if one of these postal services is only used for a tiny portion of the act or for something trivial.

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud, on the other hand, is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and includes any fraudulent activity that uses wire transmissions. As technology has developed, these transmissions have come to include anything using:

  • Radio
  • Phone calls
  • Television
  • Email
  • Internet

Of course, the wide scope of what is meant by “wire transmissions” has led to nearly any kind of fraudulent activity being labeled as wire fraud. As a result, many people facing a charge for, say, mortgage fraud will also face another charge for wire fraud if any communications were sent via email.

Attempted Mail and Wire Fraud

Even allegedly fraudulent schemes that use the mail or wires and that did not make any money can still lead to mail and wire fraud allegations. This is because the federal statutes prohibiting mail and wire fraud include attempted conduct, as well.

Penalties for a Conviction

A conviction for mail and wire fraud, like many federal convictions, is very serious. For each charge of mail fraud or wire fraud, a conviction can carry up to 20 years in jail, and up to $250,000 in fines.

Washington DC Mail and Wire Fraud Attorneys Could Help

If you have been accused of fraudulent activity that used the mail, the internet, email, or the phones, you can face charges of mail and wire fraud. These accusations are serious, and the federal prosecutors who pursue them are not to be taken lightly.

Hiring a Washington DC mail and fraud lawyer to defend against the charges you are facing can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Only by raising effective legal defenses to the charges will you reach a resolution that you can live with.