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Phoenix Mail Fraud Lawyer

HPhoenix Mail Fraud Lawyerave you been charged with mail fraud in Phoenix, AZ? This federal offense carries harsh penalties. Not all criminal defense attorneys in Arizona can represent you in federal court. You need a lawyer experienced with federal white-collar criminal defense.

Orent Law Offices has represented clients facing state and federal fraud charges for over 33 years. Contact our law firm for a free consultation with a Phoenix mail fraud lawyer and begin building the robust legal defense you need.

How Orent Law Offices Can Help if You’re Accused of Mail Fraud in Phoenix, AZ

When you are facing a federal charge, your case requires a different approach than a state criminal charge. Federal charges aren’t just more serious; they are brought by the federal government and have far more at stake. An experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney at Orent Law Offices is prepared to give you the defense you need in federal court.

Orent Law Offices has spent decades representing clients in Phoenix, Arizona, facing federal and state fraud charges. Founding attorney Craig Orent is a Top 100 Trial Lawyer with over three decades of experience. He is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. He has also defended clients against federal charges with the Public Defender’s Office.

Choose Orent Law Offices to represent you in your federal mail fraud case, and our firm will:

  • Offer the guidance, support, and insightful legal strategy you need
  • Build a strong multi-faceted defense strategy based on exculpatory evidence, evidentiary challenges, cross-examination, expert witness testimony, and seeking the suppression of evidence
  • Protect your constitutional rights at every stage
  • Negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to seek a satisfactory plea deal, dismissal, or reduction of the charges

You do not need to face federal criminal charges alone or rely on an overworked public defender. Call Orent Law Offices today for a free case review with a Phoenix mail fraud lawyer prepared to give you the sound legal defense you deserve.

What is Mail Fraud?

Fraud is a general term that can refer to any number of offenses involving deceit, false statements, dishonesty, or misrepresentation. Fraud is typically considered a white-collar crime as it is committed for financial gain without violence.

Not all forms of fraud are charged under Arizona law. Certain types of fraud raise the offense to the federal level. Mail fraud is one of the most common federal fraud charges.

Mail fraud is defined under 18 U.S. Code § 1341 as a scheme or attempt to defraud or obtain money or property through false promises, pretenses, or representations that involves the mail.

The federal mail fraud statute was first enacted in 1872 to protect the United States Postal Service. However, it was expanded in 1994 to include private and commercial interstate mail carriers like FedEx and UPS. Every year, there are more than 10,000 mail fraud charges tried in federal court. In 2018, the federal government made 441 mail fraud convictions.

Arizona mail fraud cases are federal offenses, even if the mail never leaves the state. In fact, you don’t even need to have mailed anything. The prosecutors can merely show you intended to use the mail in any part of a fraudulent scheme to convict you.

This very broad statute can cover a range of offenses and types of fraud. Any type of fraudulent scheme that involves the mail, no matter how indirectly, can be charged as mail fraud.

This federal statute has two key elements prosecutors must prove:

  • The accused attempted to or devised a scheme to defraud, and
  • The mail was used to attempt the scheme or to execute the scheme.

Federal prosecutors are trained to bring mail fraud charges when they are not sure which federal statute to apply in criminal cases. It has been called the Uzi and Stradivarius for Assistant U.S. Attorneys. It is vague, can apply to nearly any form of fraud, and is very easy for prosecutors to use. It is even referred to as a stopgap statute as prosecutors can use it to prosecute behavior that hasn’t been targeted with specific legislation.

Common examples of schemes that may be considered mail fraud include:

  • Ponzi schemes or pyramid schemes
  • Mail that is designed to look like it was issued by the government
  • Mail that attempts to solicit sensitive information like Social Security numbers. This may include, for example, a fraudulent credit card application
  • Sending fraudulent documents in the mail as part of a scheme to defraud someone
  • Selling counterfeit items that are sent through the mail
  • Check-cashing schemes involving the mail
  • Sending mail offering free services in exchange for money

It is important to note that the federal government does not need to prove that any victim suffered a loss, the defendant gained anything, or that the scheme was successful. They can convict without proving anything was deposited for collection or mailed if they have evidence that mailing something was part of the scheme.

Phoenix Fraud Charges Can Be Brought Along with Mail Fraud

You may face a variety of state and federal charges in connection with mail fraud. This federal offense can be charged on its own or as a backup if prosecutors do not have enough evidence for other charges. It can also be charged as an add-on to other criminal charges.

Examples of offenses commonly charged with mail fraud include:

  • Wire fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion or tax fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Racketeering
  • Federal securities fraud

All these crimes can be charged as federal offenses. The Arizona crime most often charged alongside mail fraud is fraudulent schemes and practices under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-2311. This refers to a scheme or intent to defraud knowingly and when receiving a benefit from the fraud.

Other state theft charges may also be charged in connection with wire fraud.

What’s the Difference Between Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud?

Mail fraud and wire fraud are very similar federal charges. Whether you are charged with mail or wire fraud depends on how the scheme was enacted or planned. Wire fraud refers to fraud that uses the internet or telecommunications under 18 U.S. Code § 1341. This can include emails, text messages, phone calls, faxes, and even messages on social media. Mail fraud, as discussed, involves physical mail.

What Are the Penalties for Mail Fraud in Phoenix, Arizona?

The penalties for federal offenses are almost always more serious than state offenses. If you are convicted of federal mail fraud, you face up to 20 years in federal prison. The fine can be up to $500,000. If the fraud involved federal disaster relief funds or a financial institution, you face up to 30 years in federal prison and fines of up to $1 million.

In addition to a lengthy prison sentence, conviction for mail fraud generally requires paying restitution to any victims of the scheme. You will also be required to forfeit any money or property you gained as part of the scheme.

These harsh penalties are independent of the penalties you face for additional federal or state charges like fraudulent schemes, embezzlement, or identity theft.

Because the penalties for a federal mail fraud charge are so serious, it’s crucial to contact a Phoenix federal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin building a defense.

What Defenses Are Available if I’m Charged with Mail Fraud?

When you are facing federal mail fraud charges, it’s vital to consult with an experienced federal fraud attorney as soon as possible. While this statute gives prosecutors a great deal of wiggle room to make a conviction, they must still prove several elements of their case. Orent Law Offices will help you build a robust fraud defense to fight the federal charges you face.

The following are the most common legal defenses available in a mail fraud case:

  • Entrapment. This legal argument claims a representative of the government compelled or pressured you into committing mail fraud.
  • Lack of intent. The prosecutor has the burden of proving you had an intent to defraud. If you were unaware you were sending something fraudulent, or you were engaged in a scheme in good faith with no intention to defraud, you may have a defense.
  • Lack of knowledge. A slightly different defense from lack of intent is lack of knowledge. You may have been an unknowing participant in a fraudulent scheme if you were asked to pick up or drop off mail or a package without knowledge of what it contained.
  • Representations were not material. If your case involves alleged fraudulent misrepresentations that were actually statements of opinion rather than fact, you may have a defense. The statements may not be material in your case and cannot prove fraud.
  • Constructive fraud. If the alleged scheme was constructive but not intentional fraud, it does not rise to the level of fraud. For instance, it may have been reckless business conduct instead of an intentional scheme to defraud.

Orent Law Offices will investigate your case to determine if any evidence against you was obtained illegally through violations of your constitutional rights. We will seek to have illegally obtained evidence suppressed so it cannot be used against you.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with Our Phoenix Mail Fraud Lawyer

Are you being investigated by federal authorities or already charged with mail fraud? Do not delay in seeking counsel from a federal criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and future. Orent Law Offices will put decades of experience to work on your behalf.

Contact our law office today for a free consultation with a Phoenix mail fraud lawyer ready to help you.

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