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How You Can Establish Innocence In A Mail Fraud Case

by Jamie Nichols

Mail fraud is a serious crime that can cause perpetrators to spend as many as 20 years in prison. The severity of the punishment you face will be based on how much money you have stolen or the damages that you have caused the victim. However, it may be that you actually did not commit mail fraud and that the broad nature of this criminal statute has lead you to be unfairly charged with this crime. There are some cases when a prosecutor is looking for something to charge you with and relies on the broad nature of this statute to accomplish this goal.

Defining Mail Fraud

Fraud is often tied with regulations that are placed on your particular industry. For this reason, one of the best ways to avoid a fraud conviction is to hire an attorney who is familiar with your industry. For mail fraud to have been committed, it is first necessary that a scheme has been developed that is designed to defraud others. Also, it is required that a mail service was used to accomplish this. Mail fraud not only occurs when you solicit someone to commit fraud through mail, but also when you encourage someone to mail you a check as part of a scheme.

Proving That You Didn't Intend To Commit Fraud

To be convicted of mail fraud, it must be proven that you knew that you were committing fraud. For example, if you are paid for services that you had intended to provide, but circumstances beyond your control prevented you from providing these services, you would not be found guilty of mail fraud. You might have evidence that you could have provided services if the situation was different.

For instance, if you provide a coffee brewing service for corporations, but your coffee shipment was delayed, you could argue that you intended to provide the service, but couldn't find a vendor who could provide the type of coffee you promised to serve. If you made an attempt to refund the customer or provide an alternative product, this could also be used as evidence that you were not committing fraud.

Having An Aiding And Abetting Charge Dropped

If you mail a letter for someone else and the letter is part of a mail fraud scheme, you might be charged with aiding and abetting. Therefore, your defense would be that there is no reason that you would have known that the letters you were sending were a part of mail fraud. Given the broad nature of this charge, you will need to consult with a criminal law attorney who can help craft a narrative that explains why you did not intend to commit fraud.