Lawyer of Greater Boston
Mail and Wire Fraud
Two of the most frequently charged crimes in federal court are mail fraud and wire fraud. The mail fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1341, criminalizes the use of the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud. The wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1343, criminalizes the use of an interstate wire (such as a telephone, fax, email, text message, or social media account) for the purpose of executing or attempting a scheme to defraud. The main reason that federal prosecutors charge mail and wire fraud so often is the pervasiveness of mail and wire in our lives. Since nearly every business and individual uses mail and wire, many allegations of fraud are prosecuted under these statutes. Despite the reliance of federal prosecutors on the mail and wire fraud statutes, strong defenses can be mounted to defeat these charges in court. If you are charged with mail or wire fraud, you need a highly qualified attorney to prepare and execute a successful defense.
Boston mail and wire fraud attorney David J. Grimaldi provides outstanding representation to clients charged with these and related federal offenses. He has represented clients charged with schemes to defraud millions of dollars from private companies and the federal government, respectively. He has handled federal fraud cases involving both domestic and international corporations. Most of Attorney Grimaldi’s fraud cases include significant amounts of documentation, including voluminous bank records, tax returns, invoices, business documents, and company emails. Through rigorous preparation and a keen eye for persuasive arguments, Attorney Grimaldi excels in raising reasonable doubt for his clients at trial.
The best defenses to mail and wire fraud usually involve exposing the government’s shortcomings in proving the necessary elements of the offenses. For example, both the mail and wire fraud statutes require that the government prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the scheme to defraud involved the misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact or matter, and that the defendant knowingly and willfully participated in that scheme with the intent to defraud. One possible defense, therefore, is that the client did not act “knowingly” during the course of the alleged fraud. The First Circuit has stated that a defendant acted “knowingly” if he or she was conscious and aware of his or her actions, realized what he or she was doing or what was happening around him or her, and did not act because of ignorance, mistake, or accident. Acting in good faith, therefore, is a strong defense to charges of mail and wire fraud. Evidence of good faith can come in many forms, including the client’s reliance on legal advice before acting, the client’s compliance with state law, or evidence that the client was misled by others.
Another defense to mail and wire fraud concerns the “materiality” requirement of the statutes. Both the mail and wire fraud statutes require the prosecution to prove that the defendant made false representations about or concealed a “material” fact or matter. The First Circuit has defined a “material” fact or matter as one that has a natural tendency to influence or be capable of influencing the decision of the decisionmaker to whom it was addressed. Therefore, in cases where the alleged misrepresentation or concealment involves an incidental matter, the client must be acquitted. Defenses premised on the “materiality” requirement can arise in a variety of contexts, including cases of “puffery” by a company trying to sell a product or service. For example, a company’s statement in a promotional email that its product is “the best in history” is unlikely to qualify as wire fraud in most cases since the average person would not rely on that kind of boastful remark in deciding whether to purchase the product. The line between puffery and materiality, however, is where many mail and wire fraud cases are fought, and a defense attorney must be ready to make the most effective arguments in his client’s defense.
Mail and wire fraud are punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years or a hefty fine, or both. If the fraud affects a financial institution or is connected to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, then the crimes are punishable for up to 30 years in prison.
Boston mail and wire fraud attorney David J. Grimaldi provides exceptional representation to clients accused of these and other federal offenses. His background in multimillion-dollar fraud cases, and fraud cases of all kinds, is a great advantage to prospective clients. If you are charged with mail or wire fraud, you need a smart, experienced, and persuasive attorney to defend you. Contact Attorney David J. Grimaldi at (617) 661-1529 or online today.