For well over a decade, Dallas, Texas criminal defense attorney Jeff King has zealously defended the rights and freedoms of clients accused of the serious crimes of mail fraud and wire fraud. There are 300 postal inspectors assigned to mail fraud investigations. Of the 66,000 mail fraud complaints filed each year, there are more than 1,600 arrests. Convictions can result in enormous fines and substantial prison sentences. Don’t leave your life and reputation in the hands of anyone but the most tenacious and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Office of Jeffery King today for a free and completely confidential consultation.

What is Mail Fraud?

Mail fraud can be committed against businesses, consumers, states, local governments, federal agencies, or financial institutions. Unfortunately, the laws pertaining to mail fraud can be far-reaching and vague. The 1872 recodification of the Postal Act, Title 18 of United States Code Section 1341, defines “mail fraud” as:

  • Intentionally devising (or intending to devise) a scheme to obtain money or property by fraudulent means
  • Using the postal service for the purpose of executing the scheme

Mail Fraud Laws

Since the original law was passed, there have been several amendments to clarify the mail fraud statute:

  • In 1909, the language of Code Section 1341 was added defining the scheme to defraud as the attempt to obtain “money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.”
  • As part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, the fraud statute was defined as the attempt to “deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.”
  • As part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, the penalties for mail fraud involving financial institutions increased from maximum fines of $1,000 to $1 million, and maximum prison terms of five to 30 years.

Texas Mail Fraud Laws

In Texas, mail fraud may be categorized as:

  • General mail fraud – fraudulent activity that passes through USPS, UPS, or FedEx carriers.
  • General wire fraud – using radio, TV, or other wires across state lines to defraud.
  • Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act – exploitation of federal responses and powers after disaster.
  • Financial institutions – fraud connected to the workings of a financial institution (“aggravated” mail fraud).

Statute of Limitations

In most cases, offenders can be tried up to five years after the alleged crime has been committed. Cases affecting a financial institution carry a statute of 10 years.

Federal Mail Fraud Penalties

Any crime that uses the United States Postal Service in any way is considered a violation of federal law, which carries very stiff penalties. Most of the time, mail fraud is added on to the laundry list of criminal charges prosecutors have piled onto their lawsuit when they do not have a strong enough case to prosecute the other crimes they have investigated.

Even so, federal mail fraud is a very serious charge that falls under felony sentencing guidelines. Individuals deemed guilty of mail fraud could face fines of up to $250,000 and a five-year jail term. When financial institutions are involved, the penalty increases to a possible $1 million fine and up to 30 years in prison.

Successful Mail Fraud Defenses

A good defense focuses on one or more elements of the crime, which the government will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Most commonly, defense attorneys go after the claim that the defendant had a willful intent to deprive the plaintiff of money, property, or the right to honest service.

Other common defenses include:

  1. Constructive Fraud – The defendant unintentionally failed to disclose a conflict of interest – a form of negligence, which may be mistaken for criminal intent.
  2. Good Faith – The defendant honestly believed the offer would result in a benefit for the recipient. Good faith can be established if no one was in fact defrauded, if the defendant acted in accordance with state law requirements, if there was a lack of financial motive, or if refunds were paid out to at least some customers.
  3. Lack of Authority – Prosecutors must supply evidence that the defendant authorized the material used by employees or that the employees were acting within the scope of normal business operations to defraud.
  4. Puffing – The defendant did not intend to deceive, but was merely exaggerating the good qualities of the service or good being advertised.
  5. Statute of Limitations – In most cases, alleged crimes taking place more than five years ago cannot be tried in court. The one exception is a crime involving a financial institution, which can be tried up to 10 years later.
  6. Uncertainty – What constitutes “honest services”? In some cases, definitions are lacking, making the law too broad and too vague.
“Competent and Compassionate”

I found Jeff to be a competent and compassionate advocate. As a client, he was the “voice” that I needed him to be to achieve a good result. He allowed me to communicate my needs to him and then diligently went to work to attain them. I would recommend him without hesitation.

“I was given a fair and positive outcome.”

With the type circumstance I had, it was not a hard case nor one that required a court visit or in front of a Judge but it did take some research and many hours of information gathering. I was given to the point, fair and accurate information by Jeffery King and he stuck with me through the whole ordeal. This was not only vital but very personable and I appreciated that to the fullest. I felt comfortable and positive through the entire situation and was given a fair and positive outcome. I thank Jeff King and his other staff that were involved for all they did.

“Prepared, Aggressive & Passionate about the Defense”

As the father of a recent active duty Air Force client of Mr. King’s, and being intimately involved day to day with the case, I can say without hesitation nor mental reservation, Jeff King is a consummate professional. Jeff was not only prepared, aggressive, and passionate about the defense, he also made the time to explain in detail every facet of the trial as it progressed. Having an attorney of Jeff’s caliber in our corner bestowed a feeling of confidence to our family, which was a critical factor in our ability to manage the stressfulness inherent to such serious allegations. Jeff prepared the entire family for every scenario, good and bad, and for that we are forever grateful. Upon receipt of the not guilty verdict and celebrating the obvious joy we felt that this “created adventure” had now come to an end, also came the realization that not only had he won this case, and with it our son’s continued freedom and innocence, but we had made a friend of the highest regard. Our family cannot thank Mr. King enough for his excellent representation on behalf of our son, but also for the lofty amount of integrity and humility demonstrated during the most trying time of our lives. Much respect and Semper Fi.

“Jeff is the best!”

I thought my life was over when I was accused of a horrible crime at a general court-martial. From the moment I met Jeff, he instilled confidence in my case and showed a real enthusiasm for what he does. Be warned: Jeff will put you to work! He prepares for battle and expects you to contribute. He is confident in court and I enjoyed watching the jury respond to him. In the end, I was found NOT GUILTY to all charges! I am so grateful that I hired Jeff to defend me.

“Jeff sets the standard.”

Jeff was amazing! He handled my case through the end of the Article 32 hearing, and set the basis for my acquittal. If it had been any other IO than the one it was, I am certain it would have been dismissed right then, as all the objections he made in the Article 32 were later upheld by the Military Judge, and they been upheld at the Article 32 hearing, it would have been dismissed on the spot. His knowledge, and preparation made all the difference in my case, and his relentless pursuit of the truth showed through. He will always be my first recommendation to anyone who needs legal help.

Dallas, Texas Mail Fraud Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of wire fraud or mail fraud, do not hesitate to contact experienced criminal defense lawyer Jeff King. With over 14 years of trial experience and over 1,000 successful verdicts, Jeff King is a name you can trust to defend you against the most serious charges. Contact his Dallas office to discuss the nature of your case in a free consultation.

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