Most Common Examples of Mail Fraud
Although we may not hear about it in the news as often as in prior decades due to the emergence of the internet, hundreds of people are still charged with mail fraud every year. If you have been accused of a crime based on mail fraud and want to learn more about your legal options, please contact an experienced mail, wire and bank fraud attorney today.
Synthetic Identity Theft
Allegations of mail fraud always require a serious legal defense. However, certain types of mail fraud-related offenses, such as those that involve allegations of identity theft, should be given particular weight. Synthetic identity theft has become increasingly common in the digital age and often involves allegations of the use of someone else’s Social Security Number, usually belonging to a minor, along with a fake name and birth date to apply for credit cards through the mail. Although credit card companies deny these types of applications, the process of applying l creates a record of that non-existent applicant, who can then be added to accounts that already exist. Once this person has earned an adequate credit rating, he or she can begin ordering additional credit cards.
Distributing Fraudulent Documents
Many mail fraud offenses are also charged based on allegations that a defendant solicited sensitive information through the mail. The most common example of this involves sending out a fake credit car application that requests a party’s name, Social Security Number, phone number, and address. If a recipient fills out and sends this information back, the initial sender could be charged with stealing that person’s identity or of selling his or her information to someone else.
Surprisingly, many of those who are accused of being involved in Ponzi schemes are charged under the federal mail fraud statute, which makes it unlawful to circulate letters requesting money in exchange for a massive return on an investment.
Defining Mail Fraud
The elements of mail fraud are extremely broad, which means that it is not only possible, but also probable, that some people will be unfairly accused of committing the offense. All of these types of cases are prosecuted by the Department of Justice (DOJ), although the FBI or IRS are often involved in the investigations.
Penalties for conviction are severe, as each fraudulent communication sent via mail is charged as a separate fraud count. This means that a defendant could end up spending as many as 20 years in federal prison, unless the defrauded entity was a bank, in which case, the punishment can be increased to 30 years. It’s also possible to be charged with aiding and abetting mail fraud, even if the accused did not benefit from sending the communications, but only helped the perpetrator do so in some way.
Call Today for Legal Assistance
With so much at stake for defendants who have been accused of mail fraud, it is critical that these individuals consult with an attorney about their options. To learn more about building your own defense, please call dedicated Miami mail, wire and bank fraud attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 today.