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WHEN THE F.B.I. COMES CALLING...
You may be charged with:
MAIL FRAUD (18 U.S.C. 1341)
In layman's terms the definition of MAIL FRAUD is as follows:
It is a crime for anyone to use the U.S. mail, or any private or commercial interstate carrier (e.g. FedEx, U.P.S.), to carry out a scheme or plan to defraud (trick or lie) an individual or group.
In many jurisdictions to be convicted of mail fraud the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following items:
1. The person, conducted or attempted to conduct, a scheme or plan to defraud;
2. with the intent to commit fraud;
3. the person, directly or through another, used the U. S. Mail or private/commercial interstate carrier to carry out the fraud; and
4. the scheme involved false material representations.
Some actual cases:
1. Sending false financial statements through mails in order to secure credit, knowing that such statements are false, constitutes violation of 18 USC§ 1341.
Dranow v United States (1962, CA8 Minn)
2. Scheme whereby defendant sold certificates with promise to pay at maturity twice amount paid in, where defendant did not invest money received and had no income other than that paid by purchasers of certificates, was scheme to defraud.
Walker v United States (1907, CA9 Wash)
3. Mailing of any letter or writing by way of carrying out scheme is sufficient, although letter or writing itself may have been harmless.
Byron v United States (1921, CA9 Wash)
One may be found guilty of a felony, imprisoned up to 5 years, and fined up to $250,000. If a financial institution is involved, one may be imprisoned up to 30 years and fined up to $1,000,000. The punishment is per transaction. For example, if 8 letters are sent through the U.S. Mail and 10 packages are sent through FedEx, the potential punishment above is multiplied by 18.
Frequently, the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) will secure a Federal Indictment from a Federal Grand Jury and charge a defendant not only with mail fraud, but also with wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit the aforementioned crimes. One should also be aware that since 1987 parole has been abolished in the Federal System. Expungement (removal of conviction from public records) is also not available.
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