Virginia Federal Mail or Wire Fraud Lawyer
Facing fraud charges can be one of the most stressful and difficult times in an individual’s life. However, it’s important to remember that you have options under these circumstances. The Virginia federal mail and wire fraud lawyers at our law firm are here to protect the rights of clients who have been charged with fraud, and we are dedicated to providing aggressive advocacy and experienced legal defense. Contact a Virginia federal criminal lawyer today if you’ve been charged.
Benefits of a Virginia Federal Mail or Wire Fraud Lawyer
When you are facing federal fraud charges, the stakes can be extremely high. In these circumstances, there are benefits to looking beyond hometown lawyers and seeking out a defense attorney who has experience facing up against federal prosecutors and who understands the nuances of the federal court system where your trial will be held.
Some of the benefits of working with a Virginia federal mail and wire fraud lawyer from our firm include:
- Knowing that your attorney has a presence in the federal court and understands the way that these cases differ from those conducted at the state level.
- Having a seasoned negotiator on your side who can represent your best interests if any negotiations with the prosecution should become necessary.
- Working with a legal advocate who can put the full investigative resources of a private criminal defense firm to work on your case.
Of course, to learn how we can best serve you, we would like to hear about the specific details of your case. If you call our firm, our team will conduct your free initial consultation to help us learn about your unique needs and circumstances.
Mail and Wire Fraud Basics
Generally speaking, the term “fraud” refers to allegations of a deliberate and wrongful misrepresentation for the purpose of personal gain. There are many specific types of fraud that are prohibited by federal law, including bank fraud, telemarketing fraud, tax fraud, and identity theft.
Additionally, federal law has criminalized the use of certain forms of communication in executing fraudulent activity, including use of the U.S. postal service and certain forms of online and electronic communication, referred to by the law as “wire communication.” While allegations of mail and wire fraud can be brought by the government as stand-alone cases, such charges may be coupled with additional charges regarding the alleged underlying fraud. In other cases, mail and wire fraud statutes may be used to prosecute an alleged fraud that is not specifically addressed by another statute, such as mortgage fraud.
Mail and wire fraud cases may be linked to alleged complex financial fraud schemes and, as such, can involve serious legal consequences, including the possibility of significant fines and imprisonment. In many cases, however, there are a number potential defenses that a skilled Virginia federal mail or wire fraud attorney can employ.
Elements of Mail Fraud
Federal mail fraud is defined and prohibited by 18 U.S. Code Section 1341. The statute makes it a crime to use the United States Postal Service in order to effectuate a plan or scheme to wrongfully acquire money or property. The more common charges alleged include mortgage fraud, pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, and securities fraud. According to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Resource Manual, there are two key elements that the government must prove in order to establish that a person engaged in mail fraud:
- That he or she devised a scheme or intended to devise a scheme to defraud, and
- That he or she used the U.S. mail with the intention of executing or attempting to execute the fraud
If an individual is convicted, the penalties for wire fraud include a potential fine of up to $250,000 as well as maximum 20-year prison sentence. If the alleged fraud affected a financial institution or occurred in connection with benefits involving a national disaster or emergency, a person can be fined up to $1 million and imprisoned for up to 30 years.
Federal Wire Fraud
The federal wire fraud statute, 18 U.S. Code Section 1343, prohibits the use of electronic communications to carry out a plan to wrongfully obtain money or property. Generally, “electronic communication” refers to the use of the telephone, Internet, fax, or television. Some common federal wire fraud charges include accusations of identity theft, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, and investment fraud. The elements that the government must prove in a federal wire fraud case mirror those of the mail fraud statute, but require that the defendant used some form of electronic communication rather than mail. The DOJ’s Criminal Resource Manual lists the elements or wire fraud as:
- The existence of a scheme to defraud others, and
- The use of interstate wire communication to effectuate that scheme
Penalties authorized by the wire fraud statute include a fine of up to $250,000 and a prison sentence not to exceed 20 years. If the alleged fraud affects a financial institution or benefits connected with a major emergency or disaster that has been declared to have impacted the country on a national scale, the potential penalties increase to a fine of up to $1 million and up to 30 years in prison.
Contact a Virginia Federal Mail or Wire Fraud Attorney Today
Facing federal charges can be incredibly intimidating, but working with the right defense attorney for you can make the process a great easier. Speak with a Virginia federal mail and wire fraud lawyer at our firm today to learn what you can do to get started on your case.