Sentencing in Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Cases

Facing federal mail and wire fraud charges in DC? Here’s what you should know about sentencing according to a DC federal mail and wire fraud lawyer. To learn more call today.

What Are The Penalties For Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Charges?

Mail and wire fraud charges are felonies. There are always terrible long-term implications if you are convicted of a felony including:

  • Loss of right to hold public office
  • Loss of right to own firearms
  • Ramifications for employement
  • Ramifications for decent career

It is an extremely long list of negative ramifications from a felony conviction, particularly a federal felony conviction. It simply looks terrible on your record.

Specific penalties for mail and wire frauds are extremely tough. You could have a sentence of 20 years in federal prison and it could even go up to 30 years if it was a fraudulent scheme that involved federal disaster relief or if a victim or attempted victim was a financial institution. The fines are also extremely tough. Every count of mail fraud or wire fraud can have a fine of up to  $250,000, and if it involves financial institutions or disaster relief it can be around a million dollars per offense. So there can be extremely severe penalties associated with these crimes.

How Does Sentencing Work For Federal Charges in DC?

In any federal case, the judge will make the ultimate decision as to what punishment and what penalties would apply, but will rely on the federal sentencing guidelines, which are no longer mandatory. The guidelines are only advisory, but nonetheless are still adhered to fairly strictly by federal judges. Those sentencing guidelines bring into play an individual’s criminal background, what kind of criminal history they have. There may be prior convictions for DUI all the way up to murder and everything in between. They are going to want to look at what those convictions were and when.

Factors Involved in Sentencing

They are going to want to look at the specific characteristics of the case: How many other people were involved in the scheme? The more that are involved, the harsher the penalty. What was your specific role in that scheme? The more primary or direct your role was, the harsher the penalty. How many victims were there? What is the total amount of money that was involved? How long did the fraudulent scheme go on? How pervasive was it?

All of those factors will directly contribute to how severe your punishment is going to be, or on the other hand, how lenient your punishment is going to be if you were a small participant who did not directly benefit, were only in it for a short amount of time comparatively and so forth. So the actual penalty can vary significantly from case to case and from individual defendant to individual defendant in a single case depending on many different factors.

What Can An Attorney Do To Help With Sentencing?

The lawyer absolutely can and must advocate for a less harsh sentence and less harsh penalties in the case because in addition to the specific factors that increase the penalties there are a broad range of factors that can actually go to the defendant’s benefit.

A lawyer’s job defending his client is to make sure that he has looked at every possible factor, everything about that individual’s role in the offense, and everything about that individual’s background. The lawyer will investigate what led the defendant to this point and find out anything good they have done before the offense. All of their contributions to  society, connections to the community, and all the positives about this person need to be presented to the court, because the prosecution is not going to do it. So if the defense attorney doesn’t do it and doesn’t do it strongly and effectively, then no one will and the court will not have that information to make a fully informed decision on the appropriate punishment.