Fraud is a white collar crime vaguely defined as the unlawful taking of something of value from another individual for one’s personal gain. This is most commonly done through deception, though the means of communication may change. Mail, wire and bank fraud are all federal offenses in the state of California, which means they are prosecuted in the federal court system, instead of the state courts. When charged with fraud, it’s vital to have an attorney experienced in fraud defense at the federal level.

Mail Fraud

When an individual uses the U.S. Postal Service, or any private shipment service within the U.S., to send materials with the intent to commit fraud, it’s considered an act of mail fraud. A conviction for mail fraud can have a maximum sentence of 20 years in a federal prison and a heavy fine. To convict a person of mail fraud, officials must prove the individual had a plan and intent to commit fraud, and that he or she used a mail service as part of that plan.

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is similar to mail fraud, but encompasses communications done through wire, such as radio, TV, or, most commonly in recent years, email. A conviction carries the same 20-year potential sentence, and possible fines. To convict, the U.S. Department of Justice, which will bring the charges against the person, must prove the intent and scheme to commit fraud, and the use of a wire-based communication system to carry out that scheme.

Bank Fraud

Any time an individual lies or misrepresents his or her situation in order to get money from a banking institution, it’s considered bank fraud. In the state of California, a bank fraud conviction carries up to a 30-year sentence and a one-million-dollar fine. To convict a person of bank fraud, prosecutors must prove intent to defraud.

Southern California Fraud Attorney

A fraud conviction can have a serious impact on an individual’s life. Along with fines and potential jail time, convictions for fraud can lead to deportation for non-citizens, seizure of property, or suspension of a professional license.

When you have been charged with fraud, you need an attorney with experience in the federal court systems. Stephanie Ames is a Southern California attorney with experience defending clients against allegations of mail, wire, and bank fraud. Based out of Los Angeles, Ms. Ames serves those charged with fraud in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Orange Counties.