Using circumstantial evidence to prove mail fraud

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2023 | Blog, Mail & Wire Fraud Defense

In California and other parts of the United States, mail and wire fraud are federal crimes that are vigorously prosecuted. Although some may consider it less serious than offenses like drug trafficking, mail fraud is a significant felony that can lead to fines and imprisonment if a person is found guilty of it.

Mail fraud

In order to accuse an individual of mail and wire fraud, two conditions must be met. First, there must be evidence of intent to deceive or cheat. Second, the mail system must have been employed to execute the fraudulent scheme. For instance, an individual may request that money be sent to a specific address for illegitimate purposes through the mail in the form of cash, check or cashier’s check.

Circumstantial evidence

Circumstantial evidence does not directly prove a person’s involvement in a crime. Instead, it relies on logical inferences to link the individual to the offense. Although the evidence may not be conclusive on its own, it can support the claim that the necessary facts are present. In such cases, reasonable inferences would be used to establish a connection between the individual and the crime.

Using circumstantial evidence in cases of mail fraud

The United States Supreme Court established that the government could use circumstantial evidence in a mail fraud case. The prosecution only needs to provide circumstantial evidence that a mailing occurred and that the defendant was responsible. The prosecutors must furnish evidence demonstrating that the defendant sent the mail.

Routine mailings and innocent mailings containing fraudulent information can also be deemed evidence of mail fraud if they form part of a scheme. Clearly, mail fraud is a serious offense that can have significant repercussions for those accused of it.

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