In 2014, two employees of an Illinois boat dealership began to use their management positions to take out loans on boats that did not exist. This scam went on until July 2019 undetected. Allegedly, they sold the boats that never existed on behalf of their customers, but they did not remit the seller’s payment or pay off their customers’ loans. They also collected payment for titles, taxes, and fees but did not pay any of those expenses. Instead, they use the money to buy vehicles, pay for vacations, bring up credit card debt, and shop. Now, they face two counts of mail fraud, nine counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
What Constitutes Mail Fraud in Illinois?
Mail fraud is illegal and punishable under both Illinois Law and federal law. Illinois mail fraud laws mirror federal laws and have many of the same elements. Mail fraud encompasses many different types of crime. Typically, mail fraud involves mailing something with an intent to defraud another person, often to trick them into sending money. In many cases, mail fraud will overlap with other types of fraud, such as credit card fraud, when the defendant allegedly steals the credit card application from the mail.
Mail fraud can also involve telemarketing fraud, financial fraud, employment fraud, and sweepstakes fraud. A defendant can face charges for mail fraud with the intent of committing a fraudulent scheme when they use the mail to send fraudulent direct mail solicitations or counterfeit items or when the defendant sends the mail with the intent to defraud.
The Penalties for Mail Fraud
Mail fraud is a state and federal crime, and the penalties for being convicted of mail fraud can be severe. When a case involves a disaster, emergency, or a financial institution, the defendant faces between 20 to 30 years in prison. Mail fraud is a class 3 felony in Illinois.
Those charged with federal mail crime face sentencing based on a point system. Entry-level mail fraud scores a six or a seven if the defendant has a prior conviction. Each score carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence. Other conditions can add points that influence the sentencing amount, such as the amount of money lost by the victims during the fraud. The penalties will also increase when the number of victims increases, depending on the type of institution affected by mail fraud. Courts always consider the defendant’s criminal record, as well.
Defending Against Mail Fraud Charges
Due to mail fraud mandatory minimum sentencing, it is important for those facing mail fraud charges to prepare their legal defenses quickly. You may be able to obtain a sentencing departure or have the case dismissed. When you need an attorney, experience matters. The lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson have a winning track record of representing clients effectively against criminal charges. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.