Mail fraud is a federal crime that involves the use of a letter, postcard or similar correspondence to commit an offense for monetary gain. If you are charged with this type of crime, you may spend time in a Rhode Island jail or prison while awaiting trial. If convicted, you may face additional time in custody as well as other penalties.
Common mail fraud scheme
There are many different ways in which an individual may attempt to defraud another person, business or government agency. For example, a victim may receive a letter saying that a family member has died and that the recipient of the letter has been named as a beneficiary. However, fees must be paid before money or other property can be transferred into the supposed beneficiary’s name. After the supposed fees are paid, the scammer simply closes the account that the money was sent to and simply disappears. A scammer may also claim that you will lose a home or other property for failure to pay a past due tax bill.
Potential defenses to the charge
Your criminal defense strategy may include casting doubt on whether you intended to deceive anyone. If you had reason to believe that you contacted someone about a legitimate inheritance, a prosecutor may have difficulty proving that you intended to commit a crime. You may also choose to cast doubt on any evidence used against you such as witness statements or financial records.
A criminal conviction may have a significant impact on your life even if you don’t spend time in jail. The presence of a criminal record may make it harder to go to school or get a job. Therefore, it may be worth contesting the case even if you are offered a reasonable plea deal.