Last time, we began looking at the case of Reggie Fullwood, who has been charged with mail and wire fraud offenses which could result in up to 20 years of prison. As we noted, Fullwood has pleaded not guilty to the charges, though it remains to be seen how he will defend himself.
A with any criminal charge, there are unique aspects of mail and wire fraud charges that an experienced criminal defense attorney will take into account when building a strong defense case. Prosecutors, of course, have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt each element of criminal charges. When they cannot do this, they are not able to obtain a conviction. Highlighting weaknesses in the evidence is, therefore, critical.
In the case of mail and wire fraud charges, the exact elements depend on the statute in question. Generally speaking, though, the elements consist of the following:
- Use of mail or electronic communications in furtherance of;
- a scheme to defraud;
- with the intent to deprive another;
- by means of material deception;
- of proper or honest services.
Mail and wire fraud charges may be punished by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Penalties can be greater under certain circumstances, though. Depending on the facts of the case, probation, supervised released, restitution, forfeiture, ad special assessments may also be part of the consequences of conviction. Federal mail and wire fraud charges fall under the federal sentencing guidelines, and judges have a fair amount of discretion when it comes to sentencing.
In our next post, we’ll look further at this topic and how an experienced attorney can help advocate with respect to mail and wire fraud charges in the sentencing phase of the criminal process.