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Federal Mail Fraud Cases in Los Angeles


Mail fraud is rampant throughout Los Angeles and the federal government will get involved if they believe the situation is serious enough.  In other words, if people are sending packages of narcotics through the mail and they are alerted by the post office.

A lot of times they will do controlled deliveries of those narcotics to people and then they will get them for mail fraud, and obviously, they will also get them for any type of illegal drug activity. Our California criminal defense attorneys are providing an overview below.

Description of Federal Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is a federal crime and is defined as the use of the U.S. Postal Service in any criminal attempt to gain money or things of value. By using the Postal Service or other private carrier, the crime is raised to the level of mail fraud and therefore incurs enhanced punishment, which may include a separate federal prosecution for crimes that would otherwise be matters of state jurisdiction.

18 U.S.C. § 1341 provides punishment for anyone involved in an attempt to fraud or swindle who places in a post office to mail any material to be delivered by the Postal Service.

Usually where you’re going to see mail fraud case is when somebody is involved in some sort of an illegal scheme to defraud another person or steal money and they’re using the mail.  That’s when the federal government becomes involved, especially if it’s from state to state.

The packages are being moved or even if the packages are being moved internationally, that’s where you’ll see the federal government get involved.  If it’s something that does not involve a large amount of money or an intricate theft scheme, then that case would likely be passed off if there’s criminal activity, to the state government to deal with.

The feds do not take every case.  There are a lot of cases when it comes to Los Angeles federal mail fraud because there’s a lot of mail moving through Los Angeles county, that the feds just simply don’t get involved with.

They could get involved in a lot more cases than they do, but I believe they have a policy of only handling certain cases.  Basically, deferring and letting the state government — the District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles County –handle other felony-related matters.

Mail Fraud Scheme Across State Lines

So, where you would probably see the feds getting involved in a mail fraud scheme would be if things were going on between the parties outside of Los Angeles, California.Federal Mail Fraud Defense Lawyer - 18 U.S.C. § 1341

So, if somebody’s contacting somebody in Oregon for example and they’re involved in some sort of a fraudulent mail fraud-related scheme, then you might see the feds get involved because it’s easier for them to coordinate with different state as far as investigation, getting information and prosecuting somebody.

A lot of times it is the state government because the feds have branches all over the nation obviously, in the FBI, Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency — the list goes on, so they can coordinate with their fellow law enforcement officers in different states.

Whereas, local state police could certainly coordinate with other police officers in other states and they do, but it’s not as easy to conduct a sweeping investigation because of time constraints, manpower constraints and funding.

So, that’s where if you’re trying to figure out why the feds would become involved in a mail fraud case, they would do it because they have the ability to investigate more effectively than the state.  If everything is centralized in the state and it doesn’t involve a huge amount of loss or fraudulent activity, usually the feds are not going to deal with that type of case.

Federal Prosecution of Mail Fraud

As far as prosecuting mail fraud cases in Los Angeles, California, the feds have prosecutors that would be assigned to a particular case and the types of things they’re looking at as far as figuring out what type of a sentence a person might get.

What type of a plea agreement they might offer, they’re going to look at the amount of loss that actually occurred and they will also look at the intended loss.  This is a little bit of a difficult concept for people to understand.

If there is a mail fraud scheme and the victims lose a million dollars then that would put the person at a certain guideline enhancement.  In that same scheme, if the prosecutors can show that there was an attempt for the criminals to obtain five million dollars but they didn’t actually get the money, they could try to mount an argument to add extra levels on that person’s sentence related to the intended loss — meaning that person intended to take a certain amount of money

They just didn’t get the opportunity to do it.  So, this is something that is battled and argued all the time in these mail fraud-related cases.

Retain a Federal Mail Fraud Lawyer

So, if you or a loved one is charged with mail fraud, obviously you want to get to an attorney as fast as possible.  Give the attorney the information relating to what they’re claiming that you did.

Let that attorney speak to the prosecutor, review all the investigation and discovery related to the case so they can best advise you on what your best course of action is moving forward if you’re charged with mail fraud in Los Angeles, California.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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