Mail fraud, one of the most common federal crimes, is a severe federal offense with significant penalties, including substantial imprisonment and fines. If you have been charged with mail fraud or believe you are under investigation for mail fraud, you need an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights and fight on your behalf.Each federal mail fraud case is distinct, and our team of federal defense lawyers develops a personalized strategy. Our top priority is to actively listen to you and understand what happened rather than solely relying on the government’s account of events. We take the time to comprehend the unique details of your case. We will review all the evidence, scrutinize the prosecution’s case for any weaknesses, and seek to uncover any violations of your rights that may have occurred during the investigation or arrest.

At the Rossen Law Firm, our experienced and dedicated federal mail fraud defense lawyers are prepared to use their in-depth understanding of federal mail fraud law and their vast courtroom experience to provide you with the best defense in South Florida, throughout the State of Florida, and the country.

We focus on federal mail fraud charges as a specialized area within our federal criminal defense practice. Navigating the complexities of mail fraud allegations requires the highest level of legal expertise and an intimate understanding of federal laws and procedures. We have decades of experience representing individuals and corporations facing mail fraud charges, helping protect their rights, and ensuring the best possible outcomes.


Any fraud that uses the United States Mail —whether it originates in the mail, by phone, or online—can be prosecuted as mail fraud. At its core, mail fraud refers to utilizing mail services to deceive and unlawfully obtain money or property or deceive others, including individuals, businesses, financial institutions, or government agencies. Given that the United States Postal Service is responsible for delivering all mail across the country, any fraudulent activity involving the use of mail has implications for the Federal government.

Federal mail fraud, codified under 18 U.S.C. § 1341, involves schemes to defraud others of money or property through the use of the U.S. Postal Service or any private or commercial interstate mail carrier. The law applies to any deceit, trickery, or fraud via mail. For a defendant to be convicted under 18 U.S.C. 1341 for committing mail fraud, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond any and all reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant must have been engaged in a scheme to defraud;
  2. The scheme must have involved material misstatements or omissions;
  3. The scheme resulted, or would have resulted upon completion, in the loss of money, property, or honest services;
  4. The defendant must have used U.S. mail in furtherance of a scheme to defraud and
  5. The defendant used or caused the use of U.S. mail.

The elements of wire fraud under Section 1343 directly parallel those of the mail fraud statute, but wire fraud requires the use of an interstate telephone call or electronic communication made in furtherance of the scheme, whereas the focus of mail fraud is on traditional methods of mailing and postal services.

Mail does not necessarily need to cross state lines to be the basis of a federal offense. Whether delivered by the United States Postal Service, a private carrier like FedEx, or a commercial interstate carrier, mail is an instrument of interstate commerce. When used to commit a crime of deceit, the Constitution’s Commerce Clause grants the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for mail fraud. Mail fraud is often part of white-collar crime cases, like financial fraud, Ponzi schemes, credit card fraud, or insurance fraud.

A common misunderstanding about Mail Fraud is the assumption that the deceit or fraud must directly involve mail. However, the government must prove that the mail was utilized, or caused to be utilized, during the fraud. Even a simple or seemingly innocent mailing can place the offense within the federal government’s jurisdiction as mail fraud. To stress the point further, you might think your actions are relatively benign, but if you employ a mail service while committing fraudulent activity, the Department of Justice, though the United States Attorney’s Office in your location, can elevate your alleged offense to one of the highest levels of Federal crimes: mail fraud.

Note: The legality of the mailing is not a factor, nor does it have to originate from the defendant. The crucial point is that mailing is connected to crime, a broadly defined standard.

Mail fraud is most commonly investigated, or at least initiated, by members of the criminal investigation division of the United States Postal Inspection Service because they have primary jurisdiction over the mail. Like any Federal Investigation, however, many other investigatory agencies within the DOJ are commonly involved in mail fraud investigations, such as the FBI, Department of Defense, IRS criminal investigations divisions, or Secret Service.


Mail fraud can encompass an alarmingly broad range of activities, including but not limited to:

  • Fraudulent mass-marketing schemes for goods and services
  • Fraudulent invoices and/or sales to individuals or corporations
  • Fraud related to Veteran benefits and services
  • Elderly benefits fraud
  • Fake or fraudulent investment schemes
  • Fake or fraudulent charity solicitations
  • Frauds related to sweepstakes or prizes
  • Insurance frauds


The penalties for mail fraud can be severe and cause great hardship to our clients and their families. The statutory penalties include:

  • Up to 20 years imprisonment for each offense.
  • If the fraud affects a financial institution, commonly known as Bank Fraud, or is connected to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, the maximum potential sentence increases to 30 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1 million.
  • Fines can be imposed up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations.
  • Restitution may be ordered to compensate the victim for their losses.
  • Forfeiture of any property or proceeds obtained as a result of the fraud.

When facing a mail fraud prosecution and considering the penalties, you must also seek expert counsel from attorneys at the Rossen Law Firm regarding how the Federal Sentencing Guidelines might apply to your mail fraud case.

The United States Sentencing Guidelines primarily determine federal mail fraud sentences. The guidelines consider the nature and seriousness of the offense, the amount of loss involved, the number of victims, whether the defendant played a leadership role, whether the defendant accepted responsibility, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors.

The United States Sentencing Guidelines, produced by the United States Sentencing Commission, provide a comprehensive set of rules for federal judges to use when determining a sentence for individuals convicted of federal crimes, including mail fraud. They’re intended to promote consistency in sentencing across all federal courts.

The guidelines operate on a points system known as “levels.” Each crime has a base offense level, and certain factors about the crime or the defendant can cause this level to increase or decrease. For instance, mail fraud has a base offense level of 7. However, this level may be adjusted depending on various factors, such as:

  • Loss Amount: The greater the financial loss involved in the crime, the higher the offense level. The guidelines provide a table that assigns specific level increases for different loss amounts.
  • Number of Victims: If the scheme to defraud affected many victims, the offense level may be increased.
  • Role in the Offense: A defendant who played a leadership or organizing role in the crime may receive an increased offense level, while a minor participant may receive a decrease.
  • Sophistication of the Scheme: If the fraud scheme was particularly complex or sophisticated, the offense level might be increased.

The adjusted offense level, combined with the defendant’s criminal history, is used to determine the guideline range for sentencing. This range provides the minimum and maximum number of months in prison that a judge should consider when imposing a sentence. However, it’s important to note that the sentencing guidelines are advisory, not mandatory. Therefore, while judges must consider the guidelines, they are allowed to impose a sentence outside the guidelines if they believe the case’s specific circumstances warrant it.

The knowledgeable and experienced federal defense attorneys at the Rossen Law Firm routinely make successful arguments to minimize the level enhancements or argue for a downward departure or variance from the guideline range for mail fraud, which can significantly affect the ultimate sentence our client may receive.


Federal mail fraud cases can be complex, and the defenses used will often depend on the case’s specific circumstances. However, several common defenses may be applicable. Every case is unique, and a skilled attorney can develop a defense strategy that fits the particular circumstances of your case. Defenses can range from challenging the intent to defraud, the presence of a scheme to defraud, to the use of mail in the scheme. Many defenses to mail fraud are analogous to wire fraud defenses. The defenses that our attorneys utilize include:

  • Lack of Intent: A crucial element in mail fraud charges is proving that the defendant intended to commit fraud. If the defense can show that the accused did not intend to defraud or deceive, the charges may be dismissed. For instance, this defense might be applicable if the person believed the information they were disseminating was accurate.
  • Good Faith: This defense is closely related to lack of intent. It relies on demonstrating that the accused had a genuine, reasonable faith belief in the truth of their statements or the legitimacy of the scheme they were involved in, even if that belief was mistaken. In other words, they did not knowingly participate in a fraudulent scheme.
  • Insufficient Evidence: The burden of proof is on the prosecution to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed every element of mail fraud. If the evidence presented is weak, unreliable, or incomplete, the defense can argue that the prosecution has failed to meet the burden of proof.
  • Violation of Constitutional Rights: If law enforcement violated the accused’s rights during the investigation or arrest, evidence obtained during those violations may be suppressed. For example, if there was an illegal search or seizure, the fruits of that search or seizure may be excluded from the case.
  • Mistake or Misunderstanding: The accused may not have understood the implications of their actions or may have misunderstood the law. This defense, however, can be challenging to use since ignorance of the law is typically not a valid excuse. However, in some instances, it might be used to show a lack of fraudulent intent.


Our experienced federal criminal defense attorney can help identify which defenses will most likely be effective in your mail fraud case. Working with a legal professional who understands the complexities of federal mail fraud charges is crucial to help navigate the process and ensure the best possible outcome.

The Rossen Law Firm is ready to bring our in-depth knowledge and experience in mail fraud defense to bear in your case. Suppose you or your business are under investigation or charged with mail fraud. In that case, we invite you to contact us to discuss your case and explore potential defense strategies during a free strategy session with one of our incredible federal criminal defense attorneys.

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