If you have been arrested for mail or wire fraud, it is imperative that you seek counsel from a federal criminal defense attorney immediately. Although you probably had an inkling that what you were doing wasn’t exactly honest, you may not have been aware that it was a federal crime and could result in severe consequences.
What Is Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud is when you use the United States mail system as a vehicle to entice customers to give you their money, property or other belongings. it has been a federal offense since 1872.
Some examples of mail fraud include Ponzi or pyramid schemes, mail that looks as if it was government issued, and propaganda regarding lotteries or sweepstakes. Many fraudulent schemes appear useful to society, but they involve false charities, low-cost health insurance and ways for people with poor credit to obtain credit cards by charging them advance fees. Other mail fraud schemes involve convincing individuals to invest in get-rich-quick projects, such as oil or gas commodities, purchasing land or other types of investment opportunities.
Old-fashioned mail fraud tactics still exist and particular groups of people tend to fall for them on a regular basis, despite all the warnings broadcast on TV and in trustworthy periodicals. These lures can include vacation scams, fraud regarding a phony inheritance, chain letters, work-at-home opportunities or mystery shopping strategies.
What Is Wire Fraud?
Wire fraud is similar to mail fraud because the goal is to obtain property, services or money illegally without benefiting the consumer. It differs from mail fraud because it is done via the telephone or on electronic communication, such as email.
Some examples of wire fraud include telephone solicitation, false 900 phone numbers, telemarketing scams, unsolicited junk email, phony calls from the I.R.S. and other government agencies.
Who Are the Victims?
Although lonely senior citizens, superstitious or uneducated people are the most vulnerable to mail and wire fraud, the victims could be anyone. Many well-educated and savvy business people fall for these scams because someone they trusted started talking about the deal and how they are going to invest in it. Word of mouth is a powerful tool often used to get Americans involved in these schemes, especially since most unsuspecting citizens are too busy to read the fine print. These words sometimes reveal the impossibility of ever striking it rich, although many scams just blatantly lie about the probabilities.
Federal Consequences of Fraud
You may have considered this type of fraud to be a harmless white collar crime where you didn’t have to get your hands dirty. However, it is a federal crime and is punishable by law. Many people take the attitude that anyone burned by this type of fraud will just think of it as an annoyance and a lesson learned, but there are many citizens out there who will hire lawyers willing to fight for the toughest penalties. Attorneys are staunch in their beliefs that justice must be served.
If you are convicted of mail or wire fraud, at the very least you will probably owe a hefty fine. However, you can also be imprisoned for up to 20 years. The best way to avoid the harshest penalties is to hire a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in federal criminal defense. He or she will defend you to the best of their ability and negotiate for a shorter sentence, particularly if this is your first offense.
The Law Offices of Seth Kretzer are located in Houston and regularly works on cases being tried in Beaumont, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Midland, Plano, El Paso, Brownsville, McAllen, Corpus Christi, Galveston, Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Grimes County, Galveston County, Collin County and throughout the state of Texas. We invite you to contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer, criminal defense attorney Houston, TX at 713-775-3050“>713-775-3050 when you need experienced and reliable legal assistance with criminal charges or an appeal. Our law office hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, but we are available by phone 24/7. Major credit cards accepted. Ask us about our flexible payment plans. Spanish translation services available at all times.