There are many types of mail fraud, and it is often connected to the commission of other crimes. These crimes may include securities fraud, medical billing fraud, embezzlement, theft or similar offenses. Prosecutors will often tack on mail fraud charges to try and build a bigger case against a defendant that can result in a more harsh punishment upon conviction. Mail fraud charges may also be filed if a prosecutor believes they may not have enough evidence to convict a defendant on other charges.
Defending against mail fraud charges
Although mail fraud can take place in many ways, there are several common defenses that an experienced attorney may employ to prove the innocence of a person charged with this type of a crime.
The most common of these is a good faith defense. One of the keys to proving mail fraud is that a person had the intent to commit mail fraud, purposely causing harm to another person or business. The good faith defense will contend that intent was not present and that the defendant’s actions were not intended to cause harm or loss.
Another defense strategy is a lack of authority defense. This can be proven when it can be shown that a higher authority, such as a business owner, committed mail fraud and attempted to transfer the guilt and the responsibility to an employee.
Constructive fraud may be used in cases where an act of mail fraud is not intentional, but the result of reckless business practices or conduct that equates to gross negligence.
Although it is less commonly used, in some cases, an appropriate defense may be to claim that the statute of limitations has expired. For mail and wire fraud, the statute of limitations is five years and commences from the last time that mail or a wire was sent in an attempt to defraud someone. The exception to this is if a mail fraud scheme affects a financial institution, the statute of limitations doubles to ten years.
The Law Office of Ginger Kelley serves clients in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and communities throughout Orange County, California.