What Constitutes Mail and Wire Fraud Charges in Dallas, TX

Mail and wire fraud are two of the most common types of fraud charges in Dallas, Texas. Mail and wire fraud crimes can be defined broadly and are often stacked with other underlying state or federal charges. They have been used in Texas to prosecute activities such as political corruption, identity theft, tax evasion, health care fraud, and organized crime.

What constitutes Mail and Wire Fraud Charges in Dallas, TX

It is critical to reach out to an experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible because convictions for mail and wire fraud could result in severe penalties, including years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

What is Mail Fraud?

Mail fraud makes it a federal offense to use the mail as part of a scheme to defraud another person out of money, property, or honest services. The prosecution must prove four elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict an individual of mail fraud:

  • The defendant has a scheme to defraud,
  • The scheme involved deception or a material misrepresentation of the truth,
  • The alleged offender had the intent to defraud another person of money, property, or honest services, and
  • A mail service (public or private) was used in the scheme to defraud.

What is Wire Fraud?

Wire fraud is very similar to mail fraud, with the exception of the type of communication used. Wire Fraud makes it a federal offense to use “interstate wires” (any electronic communication, such as a telephone, email, fax machine, television, or radio) as part of a scheme to defraud another person out of money or property. To be convicted of wire fraud, the prosecution must prove four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant has a scheme to defraud,
  • The scheme involved deception or a material misrepresentation of the truth,
  • The alleged offender had the intent to defraud another person of money, property, or honest services, and
  • Interstate wires across state lines were used in the scheme to defraud. The defendant does not need to know that interstate wires were used in the scheme.

What is a Material Misrepresentation?

Not all misrepresentations are material. For a representation to be material, it must have been capable of influencing the person to whom it is made.

What are Honest Services?

Typically, the term “honest services” applies to elected officials. Elected officials have a duty to the public that they cannot breach through corruption or bribery. For example, an elected official deprives citizens of his or her honest services if they are involved in a kickback scheme.

What are the Penalties for Mail and Wire Fraud in Dallas?

A conviction for mail or wire fraud can result in severe penalties, including hefty fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to 20 years. If the mail or wire fraud affects a financial institution or is connected to a presidential declared disaster or emergency, the penalty will be increased.

The victim does not need to have suffered a loss for you to be convicted of mail or wire fraud. However, you may be required to pay restitution if the victim did suffer damages.

Importantly, each act of mail or wire fraud is treated as a separate offense, even if they were all part of the same scheme. Very often individuals are charged with multiple counts of mail and wire fraud.

Defenses to Mail and Wire Fraud Charges in Dallas

Your defense against mail and wire fraud charges will be unique to the facts of your case and can be complicated, especially when tied together with other crimes. You want an experienced attorney who will be able to present the strongest case on your behalf. Below are common defenses to mail and wire fraud charges in Dallas.

  • You acted in good faith and did not mean to defraud anyone. Instead, you believed your actions were legitimate and lawful.
  • There was no material misrepresentation. Instead, you used puffery. This means that the claims you made were statements of opinion that were exaggerated but not materially false misrepresentations.

Dallas-Fort Worth Mail and Wire Fraud Lawyer

If you or a loved one are being investigated or have been accused of mail or wire fraud, you should immediately reach out to a local Dallas criminal defense attorney. Being convicted of mail or wire fraud can be life-altering, and a strong defense can make all the difference in your case. Philip D. Ray is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor based in the Dallas-Fort Worth who will provide you with a skilled and aggressive defense. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray at (214) 845-7987 for a consultation.