Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud

The white collar criminal defense attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph have extensive experience defending their clients against allegations of mail fraud and wire fraud, which are two of the most commonly used criminal statutes employed by prosecutors when indicting defendants in white collar criminal cases.

The mail fraud and wire fraud statutes, 18 USC § 1341 and 18 USC 1343, respectively, criminalize similar conduct. In short, the mail fraud statute criminalizes the act of using the United States Postal Service (or any private commercial interstate mail carrier, such as UPS or FedEx), during the course of a scheme to defraud, which typically involves a continuing series of intentional acts designed to defraud someone by attaining something of value through fraudulent or false promises, representations, or by intentionally parodying some future act.

The wire fraud statute is similar, but criminalizes the use of “wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce” for the purposes of executing a scheme to defraud or to obtain money by false or fraudulent pretenses. Wire fraud and mail fraud violations are both punishable by up to 20 years in prison and steep monetary fines.

In order to successfully prosecute a mail fraud or wire fraud case in court, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant (1) used either mail or wire communications in the foreseeable furtherance, (2) of a scheme to defraud, (3) involving a material deception, (4) with the intent to deprive another of, (5) either property or honest services. However, the government need not prove that the scheme to defraud was successful. Instead, the government has successfully prosecuted mail fraud and wire fraud cases based simply on the fact that the defendant’s “communications were reasonably calculated to deceive persons of ordinary prudence and comprehension.” Conversely, the government is required to prove that the defendants’ statements were material, which means that they had the natural tendency to influence or be capable of influencing the person to whom they were addressed. Convictions may also lie where the defendant attempted to defraud another, aided or abetted a scheme to defraud, or participated in a conspiracy to defraud.

Defending against allegations of mail fraud and wire fraud is hard work, but the white collar criminal defense attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph have extensive experience doing so.Especially when defending clients operating in highly regulated industries, it is critical that white collar criminal defense attorney develop a thorough understanding of the client’s business. Indeed, it is the details of the client’s business – including the business itself, the industry in which the business operates, and the regulatory climate – which are oftentimes front and center in mail fraud and wire fraud prosecutions. Understanding these details is critical when mounting a defense.

Rarely do two businesses operate in the exact same way. Likewise, even businesses operating in the same or similar industries may describe themselves in completely different ways, and raise capital for themselves based upon varying representations. At the same time, mail fraud and wire fraud is a hugely pervasive problem, and very few schemes to defraud are the same. In defending against mail fraud and wire fraud prosecutions, all of these factors must be taken into consideration, keeping in mind the serious consequences associated with convictions. We therefore work closely with our clients to ensure that the important details of their businesses are not overlooked, allowing them to assert the most thorough and complete defenses available under the law.

If you have been charged with or are under investigation for mail fraud or wire fraud, contact us now for a free consultation by emailing us at or by calling us at 305.350.5690.




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