Bank, Mail & Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. §1343)

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Need an Arizona Federal Bank Fraud Attorney, Mail Fraud Attorney and Wire Fraud Attorney? Contact David Michael Cantor if you are facing Wire Fraud Charges, Mail Fraud Charges, or Bank Fraud Charges.

Federal Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud is one of the broadest basis for a RICO charge. 18 U.S.C. §1341, 18 U.S.C. §1343 and 18 U.S.C. §1344 are the statutes that comprise Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud . These statutes basically prohibit the use of any mails or interstate telephone calls, Internet, radio or TV in furtherance of any fraudulent scheme. This is one of many “predicate” acts that are necessary to find a RICO violation. What makes these violations different are that they do not require the pleading of misrepresentation, reliance or injury stemming directly from the conduct at issue (i.e., from the fraudulent mail, wire or TV communication). The communication need only be in furtherance of the scheme which intentionally or recklessly causes harm. In fact, past studies have shown that mail and wire fraud predicate acts were the primary reason for the majority of RICO complaints filed between 1970 and 1985.

Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, in order for the Government to prove Bank, Mail or Wire Fraud under 18 U.S.C. §1341, 1343 and 1346 they must show:

(1) A scheme or artifice to defraud or obtain money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises; (2) A use of the mails or interstate wires for the purpose of executing the schemes; and (3) A specific intent to defraud, either by devising, participating in or abetting a scheme.

The difference between Mail and Wire Fraud is that “Wire” Fraud requires proof of international or interstate communication through relevant media (TV, radio, Internet, etc.). “Mail” Fraud only needs to show that the U.S. Postal Service and mailing was involved. Private courier services such as Federal Express, UPS, etc. do not satisfy the mail fraud statute.

The Government can usually show a “scheme or artifice to defraud” if they can prove any trickery, deceit, concealment of material fact, affirmative misrepresentation or half truth. Also, the Government only needs to show that the use of the U.S. mails or wires were in furtherance of the scheme, or as a later act to lull the victim into a false sense of security. Therefore, almost any communication by person associated with the illegal enterprise (i.e., a Racketeering association) when made to a victim or any other member of the association (whatever its content) can be held to be in furtherance of the scheme. Even if there is an absence of the specific duty to disclose information, the omission of material fact can constitute mail fraud.

Possible Punishment for Arizona Federal Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud

In 1987, the United States Sentencing Commission presented its Sentencing Guidelines. One of the goals of the Sentencing Commission was to bring about tougher sentencing for “White Collar crimes”. Even the most minor White Collar felonies would draw incarceration under the guidelines. Until 2005, these guidelines were mandatory, then the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Booker changed the rules and held that the sentencing guidelines are now advisory in nature (in other words, the judge has much more discretion).

The sentencing guidelines assign a numerical offense level (ranging from number one to number forty three) for every Federal offense. Level one is the lowest, and level forty three is the highest (i.e., a level forty three results in life imprisonment). Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud offenses are automatically given a base offense level of seven. In addition, there is an increase in a sentencing level depending on the amount of monetary loss (for example, $5,000 or more adds two levels; $10,000 or more adds four levels; etc. all the way up to $400,000 or more-which adds thirty levels. Also, additional levels are added for a multitude of other factors (such as number of victims, whether mass mailing was used, whether there was a misrepresentation that the defendant was acting on the behalf of a charitable group of Governmental agency, whether $1,000,000 in gross receipts were obtained from one or more financial institutions, whether it involved the violations of security law and the defendant was an officer or director of a publicly traded corporation, etc.).

A standard example with minimum aggravators would involve a defendant with no prior significant record who was accused of taking more than $200,000, (but less than $400,000) would be assigned a base level of nineteen, which would result in a sentence of thirty to thirty seven months in prison. However, the guidelines also provide for a number of adjustments that can either increase or decrease an offense level. This means that a judge can tailor a particular sentence to a defendant based on the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a).

For an Arizona Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud attorney to be successful with reducing a sentence, it is important to know the judge and his particular sentencing philosophy. It is also necessary to review the probation officer’s Presentencing Report and any Sentencing Memorandums submitted by the prosecutor. At DM  Cantor , we often bring in an outside Mitigation Specialist who prepares his own mitigation report. We sometimes use a private investigator to research any questionable information contained in the Presentence Report writer’s file or the prosecutor’s Sentencing Memorandum. Since the advent of Booker , the court is obligated to consider the individual circumstances of each particular case and then render a sentence “sufficient, but not greater than necessary” for an individual defendant, both in light of the sentencing guidelines and the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a).

Not only will a skilled Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud defense attorney attack the length of the sentence, but also the place of incarceration. Although the judge cannot dictate where a sentence will be served, he can recommend to the Bureau of Prisons where the sentence should be carried out. They normally will attempt to follow the judge’s recommendation. Where a Defendant is incarcerated is obviously important due to access to family, medical treatment, and overall quality of life. Our skilled Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud defense attorneys will also address these issues during the sentencing procedure.

Possible Defenses for Arizona Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud

There are four main defenses to Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud. The first defense is that the communication itself was not related to the scheme. In other words, the use of the wires or mail must be “sufficiently close” in relation to the fraudulent scheme so that it can be fairly held that the mails and wires were used “for the purpose of executing the scheme”. Just because you use the U.S. mail for some other wire communication to communicate does not mean that it was for the direct purpose of furthering a scheme. A skilled Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud defense attorney will thoroughly investigate the timing of any communications, and the content as it relates to the alleged scheme.

The second major defense is what is known as “foreseeability” of the communication by defendant. If the defendant did not actually participate in the communication, then the Government must show that the use of the U.S. mail or wires were necessarily “reasonably foreseeable” by the defendant. However, they need not show that the defendant actually knew what was contained in the communication. In reality, if the Government cannot show that the defendant personally made the communications (or would not have reasonably known about their content), then this can be a major defense.

Additional Defenses

The third major defense is what is known as “scienter”. Scienter is sometimes referred to as “evil intent”. This means that the Government must show that the defendant had an “intent to defraud”. In cases of Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud the Government will often attempt to show scienter or demonstrating a pattern of conduct. Sometimes this is referred to as “recklessness” by some courts. Also, some courts have allowed the inference of scienter by the nature of the scheme itself. A skilled Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud defense attorney will show “good faith” on the part of his client in making the communications. In other words, the attorney will need to show that the defendant did not intend to defraud anyone.

The fourth and final major defense to Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud is that there was no real injury to an alleged victim. Usually, people think of injury as “loss of money”. However, it can be shown that is injury to intangible property such as confidential business information and (as amended in 1988) the deprivation of the intangible right of “honest services”. Obviously, if nobody lost any money then this could be a defense to the charge.

The “Common Defenses” which may apply in any criminal case are numerous and diverse. One of most common defenses we encounter is a “Miranda Rights Violation”. In Arizona, the standard of whether any inculpatory statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “Voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, “Denial of Right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their Attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses for Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/”cloning hard drive” procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc. Lastly, one of the most common defenses is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction.

Board Certified Criminal Law Specialization

As of the start of 2023, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Legal Specialization listed only 56 Criminal Law Specialists in the entire state.  Of these 56, only 39 are located in Maricopa County and are allowed to handle private cases.

DM Cantor has 3 Criminal Law Specialists, the most of any firm in Arizona.

When defending Fraud allegations, it is critical to have as many Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists on your legal team as possible.

The specialization process is so rigorous that only 23 current Criminal Law Specialists have been certified in the last 20 years.

In addition, all specialists must be approved for re-certification every 5 years.

At DM Cantor, our attorneys have conducted Jury Trials on countless Mail Fraud, Bank Fraud, and Wire Fraud cases.

Every case defended by DM Cantor includes at least 1 Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist on the legal team who is directly handling or supervising the case’s progress.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist , per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers® . At DM Cantor in Phoenix, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Arizona Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud Defense Attorneys know the system well. For a Free Consultation , call us at 602-307-0808.

Why Hire a Board Certified Specialist Lawyer?

Engaging the services of a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist is of paramount importance when facing charges for a crime related to bank fraud, mail fraud, or wire fraud. These federal crimes are highly complex, involving intricate legal proceedings that demand the expertise of a skilled Phoenix bank fraud lawyer or a dedicated bank fraud attorney in Phoenix. A Board Certified Specialist possesses the extensive knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the complexities of federal court and provide a robust defense tailored to your specific situation.

Bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud are considered white-collar crimes that carry significant legal consequences, including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. Defending against such allegations requires a deep understanding of federal law, investigative procedures, and the ability to scrutinize complex financial transactions. A Phoenix fraud attorney who specializes in these areas is well-equipped to evaluate the evidence, identify potential defenses, and craft a strategic legal defense aimed at minimizing the impact of these serious charges on your life and future.

Bank fraud defense lawyers and federal fraud attorneys in Phoenix with specialization in these areas have the expertise to challenge the prosecution’s case rigorously. They can dissect the intricacies of financial transactions, investigate potential errors or misrepresentations, and advocate for your rights throughout the legal process. In cases involving credit card fraud or other financial crimes, the choice to hire a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist can be the difference between a successful defense and enduring the severe consequences of federal fraud convictions. Work with a bank fraud defense lawyer today.


Contact a Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud Fraud, and Phoenix Bank Fraud Attorney

Contact DM  Cantor and speak to a Phoenix, Arizona Wire Fraud Lawyer, Arizona Mail Fraud Lawyer, or Arizona Bank Fraud Lawyer. We will assist you with your Arizona Federal Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud charges.

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