Because nearly every aspect of life somehow involves the use of the mails or the telephone, a large number of prosecutions are brought under these statutes. Some of the types of fraud usually indicted under the mail and wire fraud statutes are:
- Loan fraud (including real estate, personal, credit card);
- Telemarketing fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Any allegedly fraudulent conduct that somehow uses the mail or telephone is suitable for federal prosecutors.
The elements to be proved in mail and wire fraud are essentially the same. Each involves a scheme to defraud involving the use of the mail or wire (telephone, computers, etc.), for the purpose of executing the fraud.
The important thing to remember is that the mailing or phone call need not itself be fraudulent, but must aid in the implementation of the allegedly fraudulent scheme.
The penalty for violation of either the mail or wire fraud statute involves imprisonment for not more than 20 years and a fine. If the fraud affects a financial institution, the maximum sentence is 30 years. A sentence of probation is generally not prohibited. However, probation will be granted only in those cases where the amount of the fraud is sufficiently low. Under the Sentencing Guidelines (see section of Federal Sentencing Guidelines), the imprisonment and fine imposed are primarily based on a calculation of the “loss” amount, that is, the value of the property that was the object of the fraud.
Many of these cases tend to be highly complex and require a good working knowledge of the area in which the fraud is alleged. Because of the large number of prosecutions that are brought under this statute, our firm has handled many of these cases. We are very familiar with real estate, insurance, and other business and financial practices. We can and always attack these prosecutions aggressively with a thorough knowledge of the law, and an ability to quickly understand the nature of the case.