Mail fraud is a federal offense in which an individual uses the United States Postal Service or a private carrier to commit fraud. The fraud can be to either obtain money or property under false pretenses or distribute counterfeit funds. While private carriers are not owned by the government, it is still illegal to use private carriers, such as FedEx or UPS to commit mail fraud.
Any form of mailing something in the act of committing fraud is categorized under mail fraud. This might mean mailing invoices or receipts related to fraudulent business and could leave you seeking a federal mail fraud attorney.
However, for the crime to be prosecuted as a federal crime instead of a state crime, the mail must cross state lines. Mail fraud includes items sent from one state to another. In such cases, the offense falls under the Commerce Clause in the Constitution, which states that the offense is then in federal jurisdiction.
How Does The Federal Government Detect Mail Fraud?
Although you might live in Houston, Texas, or the surrounding area, the federal government is watching your mail activity for fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the United States Postal Service are all charged with ensuring that criminals don’t use the mail to commit fraud.
These departments have trained professionals that execute investigations and sting operations to catch mail fraud. Even before a criminal swindles a victim out of money or property, the perpetrator can be charged with mail fraud.
Even trying to commit fraud using the mail is a criminal offense whether or not the criminal benefits or not. Likewise, a mail service does not have to be an indispensable part of the criminal’s fraud scheme. The mail can be an incidental part of the scheme, but as long as it is used, the criminal can be charged with mail fraud.
How To Defend Yourself Against Mail Fraud In Houston, Texas
Ideally, you don’t want to have to defend yourself in a federal case. Federal cases have additional resources and complications that can make it difficult to represent yourself. Hire a good mail fraud attorney to represent you.
Your attorney can build your defense using a variety of tactics. These tactics might include any of the following.
- Burden Of Proof: Your attorney can work to prove that the prosecution has not met the burden of proof requirement. Depending on your circumstances, this defense tactic might include a motion to exclude or suppress evidence.
- Good Faith: Your attorney can prove that you had no intention to commit fraud. The prosecution will work to prove malicious intent, but if it isn’t there, your attorney can use the food faith defense to avoid conviction.
- Statute Of Limitations: Mail fraud charges must be filed within five years of the offense. If not, your attorney can have your case dismissed. There are some exceptions to this, such as when a financial institution is involved, in which case the statute of limitations extends to 10 years.
The Law Offices Of James Alston offers you unique legal experience. James was a federal prosecuting attorney and knows the ins and outs of the way federal criminals are pursued. Contact us to learn more about how we can defend you against your mail fraud charges.