Mail fraud describes a scheme or fraudulent activity that’s carried out with the use of the United States mail, or any other interstate mail carrier. Therefore, to prove that a person is guilty of mail fraud, a prosecutor must show that: (1) a person used a scheme to defraud others; (2) the person made statements or omissions that had a tendency to influence another person to part with money or property; (3) the person acted with the intent to deceive or cheat; and, (4) used the mail to carry out that scheme. Victims of mail fraud include individuals, banks, the government, and businesses. The crime of mail fraud is a federal offense.


Wire fraud can get a little complicated and involves some tricky legal concepts. It’s a crime that is similar to mail fraud but involves communication over wires instead of through the mail. In general, it involves a scheme to defraud that’s carried out with the use of electronic communications, such as: the telephone, computers, internet, cell phones and interstate wires. The crime is often broken down into four elements and a prosecutor must prove all four to convict a person of the crime. These elements are: (1) a person created or joined a scheme to defraud an entity for financial gain; (2) the scheme was carried out to defraud others; (3) the person had reasonable knowledge that wire communications were necessary to complete the fraud; and, (4) interstate or foreign wire communications were used for the fraud. Like mail fraud, wire fraud is a federal offense.


The penalties for both crimes are indeed harsh. They include the possibility of decades in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, home detention, years of probation, and restitution payments. Penalties can also increase if certain aggravating factors are involved in the commission of the crimes. For example, penalties will grow steeper if either fraud was committed in connection with a disaster event, or, if the fraud specifically impacted a financial institution.


A person charged with either mail or wire fraud is not without hope. Legal defenses to these crimes do exist. For example, fraud charges can get dismissed or reduced upon a showing that the government failed in its investigation. “Failure” here means that the government did not gather enough facts to prove its case, or it violated procedural rules in its collection of evidence.

No matter the defense used, however, please know that it will require a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to challenge fraud charges. The fraud attorneys at Black Law have the skill and experience you’re looking for.  They have over two decades of combined experience defending clients on fraud charges. They are smart in their work and passionate in their representation. Contact them today and get the assistance you deserve.

We serve clients throughout Washington including those in the following localities: King County including Bellevue, Kent, and Seattle; Benton County including Kennewick; Chelan County including Wenatchee; Clallam County including Port Angeles; Grays Harbor County including Aberdeen; Kitsap County including Port Orchard; Kittitas County including Ellensburg; Pierce County including Tacoma; Skagit County including Mount Vernon; Snohomish County including Everett; Spokane County including Spokane; Thurston County including Olympia; Whatcom County including Bellingham; and Yakima County including Yakima.

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