Florida Mail Fraud Lawyer
The term fraud usually refers to when one person steals something from someone else using deceptive means. Mail fraud also refers to stealing, particularly when mail theft is involved. However, it can also refer to any criminal act that uses the United States Postal Service (USPS). In either case, mail fraud is a federal offense due to the fact that it involves a federal agency. If you have been charged with this offense, it is important to speak to a Florida mail fraud lawyer that can represent you in federal court.
What is Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud does not only involve using the USPS to commit a crime. Even when a person uses a private company, such as FedEx or UPS, a person may still be charged with mail fraud. Mail does not have to be used throughout the entire commission of the crime, and the scheme does not have to be successful. Even when only one aspect of the crime used mailing services, a person could still face charges of mail fraud, even if they were unsuccessful with the scheme.
For example, a person may create official-looking letters stating they are collecting monetary donations for a certain charity. If that person does not plan to send the funds to the charity and instead keeps them for themselves, they would face multiple counts of mail fraud, likely one charge for every letter sent.
Misrepresentations Must Be Material
A crucial part of mail fraud is that the misrepresentation must be material, or significant. Using the same example, if the person did represent a charity but incorrectly stated the charity was located in Fort Lauderdale instead of its rightful home in Orlando, that is not a case of mail fraud. In this case, the location of the charity would not be as important and likely would not make a difference in the actions the recipient of the letter took.
The Misrepresentation Must Be Believable
Another important element of mail fraud is that the misrepresentation must be something a reasonable person would believe. Staying with the charity example, if the person sending the letter stated the charity was located on Mars, a reasonable person would likely not believe that. As such, the prosecution would have greater difficulty proving their case.
Penalties for Mail Fraud
Mail fraud is a very serious offense and it comes with harsh penalties for those convicted. The penalties of mail fraud include heavy fines, up to 20 years in federal prison, or both. When the criminal offense involves a natural disaster, such as if a phony charity purported they were collecting money for victims of a hurricane, the penalty is increased to 30 years in prison.
Our Mail Fraud Lawyer in Florida Can Help with Your Charges
Being charged with mail fraud may seem hopeless, but it is not. At O’Mara Law Group, our Florida mail fraud lawyer will provide the defense you need to help you beat the charges and regain your freedom. If you have been charged, call us today at 407-634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.