Mail fraud involves the use of post offices or other mailing matters to engage in a scheme to defraud others by obtaining property under false promises. Both federal and Florida law include heavy fines and severe criminal penalties, including potential mandatory/minimum sentences of up to 25 years and maximum potential sentences of up to life. Mr. Petruzzi has represented numerous individuals charged with, or under investigation for, mail fraud offenses by both Federal and State authorities. His experience and knowledge serve as an invaluable asset to his clients.
Federal Mail Fraud offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various agencies, including the FBI, IRS and the Department of Justice. Some common federal statutes criminalizing mail fraud include:
18 USC Sec. 1341 –
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or another article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the postal service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
Florida Mail Fraud offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various state and local law enforcement agencies. Some common Florida statutes criminalizing mail fraud include:
817.034 Florida Communications Fraud Act —
(4) Offenses —
(a) Any person who engages in a scheme to defraud and obtains property thereby is guilty of organized fraud, punishable as follows:
1. If the amount of property obtained has an aggregate value of $50,000 or more, the violator is guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
2. If the amount of property obtained has an aggregate value of $20,000 or more, but less than $50,000, the violator is guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
3. If the amount of property obtained has an aggregate value of less than $20,000, the violator is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) Any person who engages in a scheme to defraud and, in furtherance of that scheme, communicates with any person with intent to obtain property from that person is guilty, for each such act of communication, of communications fraud, punishable as follows:
1. If the value of the property obtained or endeavored to be obtained by the communication is valued at $300 or more, the violator is guilty of a third-degree felony, punishable as set forth in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
2. If the value of the property obtained or endeavored to be obtained by the communication is valued at less than $300, the violator is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as set forth in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) Notwithstanding any contrary provisions of law, separate judgments and sentences for organized fraud under paragraph (a) and for each offense of communications fraud under paragraph (b) may be imposed when all such offenses involve the same scheme to defraud.
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