Complex criminal schemes frequently involve some use of the United States Postal Service or another private or commercial interstate carrier. For this reason, mail fraud charges are some of the most common federal indictments in white collar criminal cases.
Prosecutors may charge alleged offenders with mail fraud when they do not have enough evidence to convict people of other offenses, but that does not mean that mail fraud charges are not serious. Convictions for this crime can possibly result in decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.Lawyer for Mail Fraud Offenses in Miami-Dade County, Florida
If you believe that you are being investigated or you were already arrested for alleged mail fraud, you will want to retain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm represents clients throughout Miami-Dade County accused of federal white collar crimes, including South Miami, Hialeah, Miami Beach, Opa-locka, and many surrounding areas.
Evan A. Hoffman is a criminal defense attorney in Miami who is admitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case to help you understand your legal options as soon as you call (305) 249-0090 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Overview of Mail Fraud in North Miami
- When can a person be charged with mail fraud?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of mail fraud?
- Where can I find more information about mail fraud?
Mail Fraud Charges in Florida
In order to convict a person of mail fraud, 18 U.S. Code § 1341 establishes that a prosecutor will need to prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The alleged offender devised or intended to devise a scheme or artifice to defraud or obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises;
- The alleged offense involved a material deception likely to influence or capable of influencing the person to whom it was addressed;
- The alleged offender intended to deprive another party of money, property, or honest services; and
- The alleged offender used the United States Postal Service or another private or commercial interstate carrier in furtherance of the scheme or artifice to defraud.
The term “honest services” is broadly defined as intangible damages that may apply to unethical conduct by public officials or breaches of fiduciary duties in private relationships.
Federal Penalties for Mail Fraud
Alleged offenders who are accused of mail fraud often face additional criminal charges that may carry separate penalties. Mail fraud convictions, however, are punishable by:
- Up to 20 years in prison; and/or
- Fine of up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for organizations).
If the alleged offense affected a financial institution or occurred in relation to, or involved any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, a conviction is punishable by:
- Up to 30 years in prison; and/or
- Fine of up to $1 million.
Alleged offenders can also be ordered to pay restitution to all alleged victims in addition to any fines.
Florida Mail Fraud Resources
USPS Mail Fraud | United States Postal Inspection Service — Learn more about how mail fraud cases are handled on the website for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You can learn more about mail fraud schemes involving employment fraud, financial fraud, and sweepstakes fraud. You can also file a mail fraud complaint on this website.
Pereira v. United States — Victor Pereira and Eugene Brading were convicted of mail fraud as well as a violation of the National Stolen Property Act and a conspiracy to commit the aforesaid substantive offenses after the duo conspired in 1951 to have Pereira marry Gertrude Joyce, a wealthy widow, and get her to write checks of $6,956.55 for a Cadillac and $35,000 for a hotel venture. After cashing the latter check, Joyce never saw the two men again. Pereira and Brading appealed their convictions “on the substantive counts on the ground that there was no evidence of any mailing or of transporting stolen property interstate,” but the United States Supreme Court ruled:
To constitute a violation of these provisions, it is not necessary to show that petitioners actually mailed or transported anything themselves; it is sufficient if they caused it to be done. 18 U. S. C. (Supp. V) § 2 (b).
Petitioners do not deny that the proof offered establishes that they planned to defraud Mrs. Joyce. Collecting the proceeds of the check was an essential part of that scheme. For this purpose, Pereira delivered the check drawn on a Los Angeles bank to the El Paso bank. There was substantial evidence to show that the check was mailed from Texas to California, in the ordinary course of business.
The elements of the offense of mail fraud under 18 U. S. C. (Supp. V) § 1341 are (1) a scheme to defraud, and (2) the mailing of a letter, etc., for the purpose of executing the scheme. It is not necessary that the scheme contemplate the use of the mails as an essential element. United States v. Young, 232 U. S. 155. Here, the scheme to defraud is established, and the mailing of the check by the bank, incident to an essential part of the scheme, is established. There remains only the question whether Pereira "caused" the mailing. That question is easily answered. Where one does an act with knowledge that the use of the mails will follow in the ordinary course of business, or where such use can reasonably be foreseen, even though not actually intended, then he "causes" the mails to be used. United States v. Kenofskey,243 U. S. 440. The conclusion that Pereira's conviction under this count was proper follows naturally from these factors.
Were you arrested or do you think you might currently be under investigation in Florida for alleged mail fraud? It is in your best interest to immediately contact The Hoffman Firm for help possibly getting these criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman defends clients in North Miami, Key Biscayne, Aventura, Coral Gables, and other nearby communities in Miami-Dade County. You can have him review your case when you call (305) 249-0090 or fill out an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.