Were you arrested or charged with mail fraud? Do you need help with your defense? If so, contact Hart Powell, S.C. immediately. We’ll work hard to protect your rights and ensure you get a fair trial. We know how to build a strong defense for our clients. You can depend on us to present sufficient evidence that discredits the prosecutor’s case.
We’ll fight hard to get the charges against you reduced or dropped.
We understand this is an overwhelming and scary time in your life. We’ll be by your side to help you through it. Our Milwaukee mail fraud lawyers will provide support and guidance throughout the process. You won’t be alone in this fight for your freedom.
Call Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595 to learn more about how we can help you.
What Is Mail Fraud?
Fraud involves any scheme to:
- Sell, exchange, distribute, supply, or use counterfeits; or
- Obtain property or money under false pretenses.
Mail fraud is a scheme that involves using the United States Postal Service or another mail carrier to perform a fraudulent act. If the crime occurs in Wisconsin, it falls under state laws. It becomes a federal crime if it crosses state lines.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service enforces federal law and investigates possible criminal activity. The USPS Office of the Inspector General oversees this law enforcement agency. It also manages, detects, prevents, and investigates any fraudulent activity involving mail operations. That includes internal mail theft, official misconduct, and contract, financial, or healthcare fraud.
Common Mail Fraud Schemes
- Mail-order fraud: Sending order forms or catalogs to people through the mail. Anyone who responds with a completed form and payment might receive a defective item. They could also get something worth less than promised or nothing.
- Fraudulent solicitations: Soliciting money by using fraudulent terms or promises. One such scheme might include the promise of a cash prize by paying upfront to enter a sweepstake or contest. Others can involve the promise of low-cost healthcare or a credit card with an advance fee payment.
- Pyramid or Ponzi schemes: Someone will receive a communication requesting money sent to a specific person. The person responsible for starting the scheme receives payment from multiple people. Other individuals get little or nothing.
- Corporate offenses: Mail fraud can occur within corporations. Embezzlement or money laundering might involve using USPS or another mail carrier to reach their goals.
- Various fraud crimes: Sometimes, an individual might mail a letter pretending to be a government entity, such as the IRS. The recipient responds with financial or personal details. These details allow the sender to conduct other fraudulent activities.
- Additional offenses: Mail fraud can also include charity fraud, employment fraud, lottery fraud, and more.
Know Your Rights During an Investigation
If you get arrested on suspicion of mail fraud, it’s crucial that you know your constitutional rights and assert them when necessary. By knowing your rights, you’ll ensure you don’t say anything to implicate yourself in the crime.
- Right against unlawful search and seizure. Anyone who shows up at your home to perform a search must show a valid search warrant. You can decline their request to search the premises if they don’t have one.
- Right to remain silent. You can refuse to talk to law enforcement investigators when you get arrested. You don’t have to answer anyone’s questions or provide details of the crimes they believe you committed.
- Right to an attorney. While asserting your right to remain silent, you can ask to speak with a Milwaukee mail fraud lawyer. At that point, they should stop the interrogation and allow you the means to call your lawyer or find one to hire. If you don’t have access to one or can’t afford to pay, you can ask for a public defender. You also have the right for your attorney to be with you while investigators talk to you about their case.
These Mistakes Could Impact the Outcome of Your Case
Avoid these mistakes if you want to give yourself the best chance of avoiding jail time or other penalties after an accusation of mail fraud:
While your case is ongoing, don’t speak with anyone except your lawyer
It’s their legal obligation to keep anything you discuss private. However, your family, friends, and coworkers could get subpoenaed to testify against you. If you share any information indicating your guilt, they must be honest about it on the stand.
The government can also subpoena emails, text messages, and other correspondence to submit to the court as evidence of your crimes. So it would be best if you also avoid discussing your case electronically. During this time, your best option is to keep quiet and not allow the prosecution to use anyone you know against you.
Never post on social media about your ongoing criminal case
In addition to witnesses and electronic messages, they can also subpoena your activity on social media platforms. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok data.
Even online forums and chat rooms where you’re asking for legal advice could become evidence during the investigation. It’s best to avoid social media entirely until your case ends.
Don’t get rid of any evidence
If you know of incriminating documents, you should leave them alone. You might think destroying it will help you, but it could result in obstruction of justice charges. Prosecutors will also look at it as an admission of guilt. They could use your actions to convict you of mail fraud and additional crimes associated with covering up what you did.
Penalties for Mail Fraud Conviction
To reach an appropriate sentence for a mail fraud conviction, a judge might consider the following factors:
- The defendant’s characteristics and history
- The nature of the crime
- Mandatory minimum sentences
- The available penalties
- Any relevant policy statements
Mail fraud is a Class H felony. If convicted, you could face up to 20 years in prison and a maximum of $100,000 in fines. If your offenses involved federal disaster relief or a financial institution, you could get a 30-year prison sentence.
Defense Strategies Used in Mail Fraud Cases
When you’re up against mail fraud charges, you’ll need the help of an experienced Milwaukee mail fraud lawyer. The most common defenses include the following:
- Entrapment: Law enforcement or another party pressured or compelled you to commit the offense so they could arrest you.
- Lack of intent: Your actions were a mistake, and you didn’t intend to deceive anyone.
- Insufficient evidence: There isn’t enough evidence for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of the crime.
- Constructive fraud: The alleged fraudulent act was constructive and not intentional.
- Illegal search and seizure: The evidence used against you was obtained unlawfully. Such as by wiretap, illegal search, or other means that make it inadmissible in court.
- Representations aren’t material: The alleged misrepresentations were not factual statements. Instead, they were statements of opinion.
Why You Need an Experienced Milwaukee Mail Fraud Lawyer
The federal government uses endless resources to convict in mail fraud cases. However, your arrest does not automatically indicate guilt. At Hart Powell, S.C., we can investigate the allegations and obtain evidence proving your innocence. We have experience creating defense strategies that can convince a jury of your unjust arrest and charges.
It might seem overwhelming when you’re facing a prison sentence. Mail fraud cases are complex. You should hire a Milwaukee mail fraud lawyer immediately after your arrest. The sooner we can begin working on your defense, the better. Depending on the circumstances, we might attempt to reach a plea agreement for a lesser charge and reduced sentence. However, sometimes the prosecution’s case is weak, and we can aggressively fight against them in court.
You deserve the best possible legal team to represent you. Hart Powell, S.C. will protect your rights and ensure fair treatment throughout the entire process. Getting arrested can upend anyone’s life. It can affect your job, family, and reputation within your community. It’s up to us to secure your freedom so you can get back on your feet and move forward with your life.
Are you facing a mail fraud charge? Need help with your defense? Call (414) 271-9595 to speak with one of our Milwaukee mail fraud lawyers.