A solicitation for a product or service could arrive in the mail, and the deal might seem too good to turn down. Unfortunately, the flyer mailed to a California residence might support a mail fraud scheme. Anyone running a scheme that uses the post office to facilitate fraud may discover the severe consequences of such behavior. Federal statutes establish potentially massive fines and prison terms for anyone committing such fraudulent actions.
Mail fraud and federal statutes
Under federal law, anyone who uses the postal service to defraud or even intends to defraud could face up to 30 years in prison and upwards of $1 million in fines. Obviously, the egregious nature of the crime, along with how much someone defrauded others out of, factors into any sentencings. Regardless, a federal court could send someone to prison in the event of a guilty verdict.
The law’s punitive nature may work to discourage would-be criminals from engaging in fraud. Still, some take their chances only to suffer the consequences.
Mail fraud charges
Defendants accused of mail fraud could mount an aggressive defense. False witness testimony may lead to charges based on the intent to defraud, but a lack of witness credibility and weak evidence could undermine the case.
In some cases, investigators might wrongfully conclude someone had an intent to defraud. People make mistakes, but those mistakes may not rise to fraud levels.
Overzealous federal agents could procure evidence improperly, potentially making the evidence inadmissible. If a judge suppresses critical evidence, a case may fall apart.
When evidence does point to fraudulent behavior, the accused might opt for a plea bargain deal. Considering the severe penalties possible after a guilty verdict, a plea deal may be preferable to the defendant.