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Mail and Wire Fraud
Allegations that you committed federal mail or wire fraud can be frightening and confusing. You may wonder why a seemingly innocent mistake is being treated as a criminal act. You may also be confused as to why the case is being heard in a United States courtroom instead of a state-level court.
The fact of the matter is that allegations of mail or wire fraud are specifically covered by United States laws. This means that any person who violates these statutes is vulnerable to prosecution by the federal government. Furthermore, the punishments for violations of these statues can be very harsh.
Working with a Michigan federal mail and wire fraud lawyer could provide you with invaluable legal protection and support. Dedicated federal criminal attorneys work to ensure that their clients understand the law and the potential consequences for conviction. For your particular situation, they could work to develop realistic goals for the case and fight to protect your rights in court.What Federal Laws Prohibit Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud is perhaps one of the most common statutes used to prosecute people in U.S. District Courts. 18 U.S.C. §1341 states that it is illegal for any person to perpetuate an act of fraud through the use of the United States Post Office. This can include sending solicitations for false donations and sending counterfeit objects through the mail.
The reason Congress can pass laws that punish this behavior is that the government is allowed to regulate and protect itself. The post office is a government service and so Congress can pass laws that punish its misuse.
A conviction under this statute is a serious felony punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years as well as heavy fines. As such, representation from a Michigan federal mail and wire fraud lawyer could be critical to the future prospects of someone accused of this illegal act.Defining Wire Fraud in Modern Times
Another major source of federally prosecuted fraud is wire fraud. This is any fraud that uses an interstate communication system to mislead or swindle another person. Courts have interpreted 18 U.S.C. §1343 to include not just telephone or telegraph communications, but also any actions taken on the internet.
Unlike the mail fraud laws that derive their powers from the government's right to protect itself, wire fraud laws are based upon the Constitution's commerce clause. This portion of the United States Constitution states that Congress can pass laws to regulate interstate commerce. Since phone lines and internet cables pass over state lines, Congress can regulate their use.
A conviction for any fraud committed over the phone or using the internet is a federal felony. Much like mail fraud, a conviction may result in up to 20 years in prison and the payment of harsh fines.Let a Michigan Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Attorney Help
Federal prosecutors in mail and wire fraud cases must prove not only that a person committed fraud, but that they did so intentionally. It is not enough to prove that a person sent a false donation form through the mail, or that they asked a stranger for money online. Prosecutors must prove that a defendant took these actions with the specific intent to commit an act of fraud.
If you are facing allegations of federal fraud, you need to take steps to protect yourself. A Michigan federal mail and wire fraud lawyer could provide essential legal advice and representation in court, work to ensure you understand the law as it applies to your case, and potentially identify areas of weakness in the prosecutor's case. Contact an attorney today to schedule a consultation and let them get to work for you.