Cleveland Mail & Wire Fraud Lawyers
Providing Hard-Hitting Defense
Although the elements for mail fraud and wire fraud are enumerated under two separate federal statutes, the offenses involve similar conduct: A person uses some type of communication to further a scheme to defraud another. The government takes these types of cases seriously. So much so that a conviction can carry thousands to millions of dollars in fines and/or decades in prison. If you're being investigated for or have been charged with either or both offenses, you can be sure that federal agents and prosecutors will do everything they can to build a case against you. Thus, it's necessary to retain legal representation as soon as possible to get started on your defense right away.
At HMW Law, our mail fraud and wire fraud lawyers in Cleveland know what you're up against when facing federal charges. That is why we will put a substantial amount of time and attention into your case to spot weaknesses in proof, violations of your rights, or any other legal errors. We'll also listen to your side of the story to build a solid defense on your behalf. Our team has a passion for winning and is invigorated by going up against challenging opponents and seeking optimal results for our clients. We have obtained favorable outcomes in past cases and are prepared to work toward achieving the same for you.
What Is Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud occurs when a person uses the U.S. Postal Services (USPS) or a commercial carrier that crosses state lines to further a fraud scheme. Generally, the scheme is one that defrauds a person out of money or property, but it can also involve obtaining personal identifying information.
Although details of the scheme itself are usually sent through the mail – meaning that some form containing fraudulent information is sent to others – any document related to that scheme delivered to others satisfies the elements of the offense. Thus, even if a person mails receipts or records to an accomplice, they could be charged with a federal crime.
According to the USPS, common types of mail fraud include schemes:
- Directed at older adults: Generally, the older generation is more susceptible to replying to fraudulent offers.
- Directed at veterans: Many veterans respond to communications offering benefits or discounts.
- Involving claims of sweepstakes or lottery winnings: People are likely to reply to announcements of some type of winnings that require upfront payment or personal information before they can collect their award.
- Involving phony job offers: Job announcements containing lucrative offers are enticing, and recipients of such communications may readily provide requested information to jump on the opportunity.
- Involving telemarketing scams: An individual may receive a flyer in the mail telling them to call a number to take advantage of an enticing offer. Once they make the call, they're then pressured into giving personal details in exchange for the goods or services but never actually receive the promised item.
What Is Wire Fraud?
As mentioned earlier, wire fraud is similar to mail fraud. It involves a scheme or artifice to defraud another out of money, property, or other items of value. The difference is that in wire fraud, the scheme is furthered through electronic communication.
Electronic communications include, but are not limited to:
- Messages through social media
- Phone calls
Because of the proliferation of technology and the internet, various wire fraud schemes exist today.
Common types of wire fraud include, but are not limited to:
- Telemarketing schemes: An individual may call another, falsely claiming to be from a legitimate business and asking for personal or financial information.
- Catfishing: Someone might use online dating or social media sites to develop a romantic relationship with another and use their trust to obtain money from them.
- Phishing: This involves an individual or group purporting to be a legitimate or well-known business and sending emails or texts to obtain someone else's personal or financial details.
- Donation scams: This scheme plays on the goodwill of others, as the perpetrator sends an email, claiming they are stuck overseas and locked out of their financial account. They then ask others to send them money to help and promise to repay them once they gain access to their accounts.
What Are the Penalties for Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud?
A conviction for both mail fraud and wire fraud can result in a fine and/or imprisonment for up to 20 years. However, the penalties can increase to a $1,000,000 fine and a maximum prison sentence of 30 years if the scheme was carried out during a presidentially declared state of emergency or against a financial institution.
Also note, the offenses are typically charged in conjunction with other crimes, such as identity theft, which means a guilty verdict can lead to penalties for those crimes as well.
Hire a Team with a Passion for Winning
At HMW Law, we do what it takes to work toward favorable results for our clients. Our mail fraud and wire fraud attorneys in Cleveland love taking on challenges and finding creative and aggressive ways to fight back against allegations.
- Decades of Combined Experience
- A Team-Oriented Approach
- Available 24/7 for Our Clients
- Unmatched Work Ethic & Passion for Winning