Mail / Wire Fraud
When accusations of fraud cross state lines, the federal government steps in to prosecute. To cross those state lines, the accusations often involve mailing a letter to a person, requesting that person mail a letter to the accused, emails, websites like eBay or Craigslist or telephone calls. Anytime a message with intent to defraud is transmitted using any of these means, federal mail or wire fraud charges might be involved. These are complicated matters, and it takes in-depth knowledge and experience to build the best defense possible.
Des Moines Wire Fraud Lawyer
At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we have 40 years of legal experience, including representing many clients in federal fraud matters, to rely upon when building your defense. A skilled Des Moines mail and wire fraud lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. will fight for your rights and seek the best possible result for your case. We will zealously defend you against mail and/or wire fraud charges. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a consultation to discuss your federal charges.
We are licensed to practice in Iowa federal courts, both in the Northern District and Southern, and can therefore represent those facing mail or wire fraud charges anywhere in the state. We are based in West Des Moines.
Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud Charges in Iowa Federal Courts
Mail fraud is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1341. It involves using the U.S. Postal Service or any private interstate carrier, like FedEx or UPS, to an effort to obtain money or property through false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, or attempts to sell or otherwise dispose of any counterfeit money or item. The fraud charges can involve either mailing something to the victim or having the victim mail something to the accused.
Wire fraud is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1343. Wire fraud charges involve utilizing telecommunications systems, including telephone systems, radio or television to fraudulently obtain money or property. The scope of wire fraud has increased over the past few decades, because telecommunications includes the internet. Any alleged attempt to defraud a person using email, or any accusations involving stealing money or items using websites like eBay or Craigslist may fall under wire fraud charges.
Mail fraud and wire fraud can be essentially interchangeable, and carry the same penalties. For instance, an alleged fraud in which the accused emails the victim and asks him or her to mail money could be prosecuted as wire fraud, since it involves email, mail fraud, since it involves a request to send the fraud via mail, or both.
Any attempt to defraud using mail, telephones, email or any other mechanisms that may fall under wire or mail fraud will be treated, for charging and sentencing purposes, as if the fraud was successful, even if it had no chance of success. For instance, if you were caught in a sting operation, you will face the same penalties.
Penalties for Polk County Mail and Wire Fraud Charges
If convicted of either mail fraud or wire fraud, you could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison per count of fraud. Despite myths you may have heard, federal prison is not a “country club,” and even minimum security prison means a complete loss of liberty and privacy. You could also have serious fines levied against you.
If the victim was a financial institution, like a bank, or it occurred after a disaster, in some circumstances, the sentence may be up to 30 years and the fine may be up to $1 million.
Mail fraud and wire fraud charges are often accompanied with other charges, like forgery or identity theft. If convicted of any of these charges, you may also face whatever punishment they may result in. Your Des Moines financial crimes defense attorney may be able to negotiate for lesser charges.
McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. | Polk County Mail Fraud Attorney
If you face federal charges of mail or wire fraud, an experienced criminal defense attorney from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can represent you. Our Des Moines mail and wire fraud lawyers will challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and seek to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation.