Mail fraud is as old as the postal system, but this is the first time anyone has ever accused you of committing such an act. Before the situation can escalate, now is the time to talk with a lawyer and find out what can be done to resolve the matter. As you talk with the lawyer, you’ll learn a few things about mail fraud that you never realized. Here are some examples of what the lawyer will tell you and how the case can be handled.
A Deliberate Plan
One of the first things that the lawyer will address is the intent of the client. Whatever the charges related to mail fraud may be, is there evidence that the individual structured a deliberate plan to mislead others?
For example, the accused party owns a business that produces purple widgets. As part of the direct mail campaign, the business owner makes a claim that the widget can be used to wash windows. In fact, there is no way that the widget can serve that purpose. In this scenario, the business owner chose to make a false statement in the advertising materials and compounded the error by using the postal system or some other carrier to convey that false statement to consumers.
If the lawyer can prove that the widget can be used in some way to wash windows, then the claim is not false. There’s a good chance that the judge would dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning that the original plaintiff would not have grounds to file the same suit against the client again.
Stated Intent to Carry Out the Mail Fraud
Another factor that must be present is proof that the client had every intent of committing the fraud. This is sometimes confirmed by the testimonies of others who heard the client admit that the widget’s function had nothing to do with washing windows, and still chose to send out the false advertising. Admissions during a conversation, in the form of a letter, a text, or an email are often considered to be sufficient proof that leaves no room for doubt.
When the client insists the communication is falsified in some manner, the lawyer will take steps to determine where the email, text, or other statement originated. If the lawyer finds proof that the exchange did not take place or at least did not involve the client directly, there will be some doubt about the validity of the suit.
Placing the Fraudulent Instrument in the Hands of a Carrier
Whether the advertising was sent through the post or delivered through a private carrier, the decision to send out the brochures or other documents is a strong indication of guilt. The lawyer will seek to determine if the documents did originate with the client, or if they were actually prepared by a third party who sent them out before they were proofed, or without the expressed permission of the client. Confirming that the client did not approve or take steps to mail the documents will go a long way in bringing the suit to an end.
The last thing that the client wants to do is panic at the first hint of a lawsuit. Maintain a level of composure and contact a law firm that is known to handle fraud defenses. Gather all relevant information and take it along for a consultation. Be prepared to answer any questions that the lawyer asks. Once the lawyer has assessed the available details and determines what other information would be helpful in defending the client, the process of putting together a defense will get underway.