Tampa Mail Fraud Attorney
Generally speaking, fraud occurs when a person steals property from someone else through the use of deception. Mail fraud is a type of theft that, as the name implies, involves mail services, or any criminal act that involves the United States Postal Service (USPS). Due to the fact that mail services such as the USPS are federal agencies, mail fraud is always charged as a federal offense. If you are facing charges, it is important to work with a Tampa mail fraud attorney who has the necessary experience in federal court.
Defining Mail Fraud
Many cases of mail fraud do involve the USPS, but this is not the only mailing service used in schemes. Mail fraud can also involve the use of private mail couriers such as UPS or FedEx. It is important to note that mail services do not have to be used throughout the entirety of the offense. Additionally, a person does not have to be successful with any scheme using the mail in order for charges to apply.
For example, someone may write letters that look very official and ask for monetary donations for a certain charity. That act alone could result in multiple mail fraud charges, as the prosecution would likely file a charge for every letter sent. Even if the person was unsuccessful and they did not receive funds, they could still face mail fraud charges.
Mail Fraud Involves Material Misrepresentations
A crucial element of any mail fraud case is that the misrepresentation, or falsehood, must be material, or important. Using the same example as above, a person may actually work for a charity and legitimately send letters. They may also state that the charity is located in Orlando, when it is actually in Fort Lauderdale. The location of the charity likely would not have an impact on any action the recipient of the letter took and so, mail fraud charges would not apply.
Misrepresentations Must Be Reasonable
Any misrepresentation in a mail fraud case must also be something a reasonable person would believe. Staying with the charity example, a reasonable person may believe a letter they receive asking for donations to a cancer center. On the other hand, a reasonable person would likely not believe there was a charity for people having bad hair days and so, mail fraud charges would likely not apply.
Penalties for Mail Fraud
Mail fraud is taken very seriously by the federal government. A conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, high fines, or both. If the crime involved a natural disaster, such as if the illegitimate charity stated they were fundraising for hurricane victims, the sentence increases to 30 years in federal prison.
Call Our Tampa Mail Fraud Attorney Today
Mail fraud charges are extremely serious. The situation may seem hopeless, but it is not. At OA Law Firm, our Tampa mail fraud attorney can prepare the strong defense you need to beat the charges and protect your freedom. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our experienced attorney.