Defending against charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, or honest services fraud can seem like a daunting task, and in many respects it is. Successful defenses will negate one or more of the elements of the crime, all of which the government is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Most commonly attacked is the government’s assertion that the defendant possessed specific intent to deprive another of money, property, or the intangible right to their honest services. However, other elements of the federal fraud statutes have provided valuable grounds for valid defenses. For instance, a defendant might argue that the “in furtherance” requirement has not been satisfied since the wire transmission occurred after the scheme had reached fruition. Another example of a successful defense to wire and mail fraud is the argument that an employee of a defendant lacked the authority to write a letter on the defendant’s behalf, thus negating the “causes the mails to be used” requirement. We will examine a few of the most common defenses to mail fraud, wire fraud, and honest services fraud in this section. As always, it is vital to a defendant that his attorney be skilled and experienced in this area of criminal defense practice, so as to ensure no stone is left unturned in the search for the most viable theory of defense.
A brief discussion of the most common defenses is contained within the pages of this website: