Federal prosecutors aggressively prosecute fraud cases. Mail fraud and wire fraud are two of the most common federal charges and frequently are brought alone or with other charges. The essence of mail fraud and wire fraud charges is an allegation that someone participated in a 'scheme to defraud.'

For these charges to be brought, there is a further requirement that the fraud scheme used the mail or an electronic communication that crossed state lines. This requirement exists to allow the federal court to have jurisdiction, without this 'interstate nexus' the case would have to be brought in a state court (such as Theft by Swindle in Minnesota). Federal court frequently brings much harsher penalties than state court, and it has its own set of judges, practices, rules, and even laws. It is therefore crucial that experienced federal defense attorneys get involved in federal fraud cases.
Some typical examples of the types of fraud where federal mail and wire fraud charges might be made are:

Ponzi Schemes

A form of fraud that pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors, while misleading the investors into thinking their money is safe and growing rapidly.

Check kiting schemes

Check kiting is a form of check fraud involving a person writing a check knowing the account they are writing it from does not have sufficient funds to cover the check. This is illegal to do. It relies on the fact that banks take a few days to process a check and realize there are insufficient funds in the account.


Mail fraud and wire fraud can cover a huge variety of potential targets, from construction workers to investment firms to healthcare workers to business executives to doctors and chiropractors -- just to name a few.

Tax evasion

Tax evasion and failure to file tax returns are separate offenses from mail fraud and wire fraud, but the charges often come together.

Pyramid schemes

A form of investment in which each paying participant recruits further participants, with returns being given to early participants using money contributed by later ones. The difference between a pyramid scheme and a Ponzi scheme is that pyramid schemes rely on investors to recruit other investors.

Internet fraud

Mail fraud and wire fraud are both commonly committed via the use of the internet. Investigators often search through targets' email accounts, call records, and text messages; and look to see if misrepresentations are made on web sites and message boards.

Money Laundering

The process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally to make it appear to have been lawfully earned (or, alternatively, transferring money across bank accounts when that money is the proceeds of a crime).


Fraudulent taking of property by someone to whom it was entrusted. Most often associated with the misappropriation of money from a business.

In order to prove mail or wire fraud scheme, the prosecution must establish the person had specific intent to defraud. The prosecution can be try to do this in a number of different ways, and a skilled defense attorney can push back on that by advocating for their client and arguing their client had no intent to do anything wrong.

Having the skilled dedicated wire fraud attorneys from Birrell Criminal Defense fighting wire or mail fraud charges on your behalf can make a difference. These are complicated matters that need to be handled carefully. Federal fraud cases are fact-intensive and involve complicated oegal questions.

Need advice? Have questions? Consultations with our attorneys are strictly confidential. Please do not hesitate to contact us to speak with a lawyer about your situation to see how we can help you.

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