Baltimore City Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Lawyer
Both the mail and wire fraud statutes impose strict penalties in the state of Maryland. If you have been accused of either of these offenses, a Baltimore City federal mail and wire fraud lawyer can help you to understand your legal options and recover from the effects of the charges you’re facing.
Mail fraud has been a federal crime since 1872. A report by the Congressional Research Services indicates the laws were initially passed to prevent “city slickers” from perpetuating schemes to defraud “country folk.” Of course, today mail fraud laws apply to anyone who uses the mail for improper purposes. The wire fraud statute is more recent, having been passed in 1952 as part of the Communications Act.
Federal Laws on Mail and Fire Fraud
Both state and federal laws apply to those who live and work in Baltimore City. A Baltimore City federal mail and wire fraud lawyer can help you to determine what laws you may have violated based on the accusations made against you. You may be charged under:
- 18 United States Code Section 1341: This Code section makes it a felony to devise, carry out, or intend to carry out any scheme to use the Postal Service (or other commercial interstate carrier) to defraud someone in order to obtain money or property.
- 18 United States Section 1343: This Code section makes it a felony to devise, carry out or intend to carry out any scheme using wire, radio, or television communications in order to obtain money or property through fraud.
The two laws are very similar. The only difference is whether you commit your crime using the mail, or using a wire service.
How Prosecutors Prove Federal Mail or Wire Fraud
To convict you, a prosecutor has the obligation to prove you committed mail or wire fraud. There are several elements of this offense the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A U.S. Attorney must show:
- You created, planned, or were part of a scheme to commit fraud.
- Mail or wire communications were used, or were intended to be used, in an effort to try to further the fraud. Someone else may have mailed the letter or sent the wire, but you can still be convicted if you “caused” it to be sent.
- The mail or wire communications you sent involved a material deception, false promises, or misrepresentations.
- Your intent was to deprive someone else of either honest services or property/assets.
The mailing or wire is considered in context. If a seemingly innocent letter or wire is part of a larger scheme to commit a fraud offense, you can be charged with mail or wire fraud. For this reason, it’s important you contact a mail and wire fraud lawyer in Baltimore City as soon as possible if you’ve been accused.
Penalties for Mail or Wire Fraud for Baltimore City Residents
Conviction for mail fraud under Code Section 1341 can result in up to 20 years incarceration, or up to 30 years incarceration if the victim was a financial institution or you sent false mailings in connection with an emergency or natural disaster. Conviction for wire fraud under Code Section 1343 carries the same penalty.
In addition to jail time, you could be fined up to $1,000,000 after any mail or wire fraud conviction.
Hiring a Baltimore City Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Lawyer
Responding to federal charges of mail fraud is a complex process. You can benefit from having an informed advocate helping you to negotiate a plea bargain; seek to get charges dropped or dismissed; or prevent evidence in court if the case goes to trial. Contact a Baltimore City federal mail and wire fraud lawyer to learn more about how an attorney can help you.