What Is Telemarketing Fraud?
Telemarketing fraud involves telemarketing, email, and text message scams that we see almost daily. Sometimes people can tell when they are getting scammed, but many scams have increased in sophistication. Often, potential victims are sent emails or messages that look like they are coming from legit big-name companies, such as PayPal or McAfee Virus Scan, stating that there is an account issue or a bill that isn't real. Federal law specifically prohibits the use of telemarketing or email marketing to commit fraud, and being convicted of telemarketing fraud can result in federal prison time. If you are being investigated for federal telemarketing fraud, it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney right away.
What Are the Common Types of Telemarketing Fraud?
There are several different types of telemarketing fraud that are prohibited by federal law; the most common types of federal telemarketing fraud include:
18 USC § 2325 – Telemarketing Fraud - Telemarketing or email marketing is defined as someone who tries to get you to buy something, enter a contest, donate, invest money, or do something else by using the phone or email. Federal law also includes the use of text messages, chat programs, or other electronic means to attempt to induce an individual to spend money in some way.
18 USC § 1341 – Mail Fraud - Mail fraud is defined as someone using the U.S. Postal Service to try to get money or something else of value from another fraudulently. Mail fraud punishments are often in addition to the punishment for the underlying crime, even if that original crime is tax fraud, health care fraud, or some other kind of crime.
18 USC § 1343 – Wire Fraud - Wire fraud is defined as a crime where someone uses electronic communication to commit a fraudulent act. This can involve the use of email or the internet in some way to commit a crime. The punishment for wire fraud is harsher than the punishment for the original crime, even if it's something like tax fraud or copyright infringement.
It is important to understand that the use of any electronic or communicative means to commit fraud on another can result in enhanced penalties, additional convictions, and hefty restitution requirements.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Telemarketing Fraud?
Federal law adds extra penalties when scam victims are targeted through telemarketing fraud.
18 U.S.C. § 2326 allows a judge to add up to five years of prison time to those who commit telemarketing fraud against a victim aged 55 years or older.
18 U.S.C. § 2327 requires restitution to be paid to scam victims. This can be limitless as it depends on the amount of money that the victim has been swindled out of.
18 U.S.C. § 2328 requires forfeiture of the real and personal property of a defendant who illegally obtained anything of value from another in an act of fraud.
What Are Some Common Defenses to a Telemarketing Fraud Charge?
To obtain a conviction for telemarketing fraud, the Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you specifically intended to induce someone to give you money or something of value fraudulently. There are several defenses to an accusation of federal telemarketing fraud, including:
Mistake - If you mistakenly took the money or property without intending to defraud the owner, then you did not commit a telemarketing fraud crime.
False accusation – If you are being falsely accused of a telemarketing fraud scheme, then you can show evidence to demonstrate that you are not involved in the scheme.
Lack of evidence – If there is insufficient evidence to connect you to the crime, then this can be used as a defense at trial.
Constitutional violations – If your Constitutional rights against unreasonable searches or improper questions are violated, then you can file a motion seeking to have the evidence suppressed.
Make sure you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to figure out which defense is best for your case. The defenses available to you will depend on the facts of your case.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If you are accused of a federal crime in New Jersey, the criminal case will be processed in the federal court that has jurisdiction over where the alleged crime took place. There is one federal district in New Jersey and three court locations. If you disagree with a decision made by a judge in a federal district court, then you can file an appeal with the appropriate appellate court. In New Jersey District Court, appeals must go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The only remaining higher court is the United States Supreme Court. However, the United States Supreme Court does not have to hear your case and may choose not to if you request an appeal.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are charged with a federal crime, then it is critical to have an attorney who has experience in federal criminal defense. This person can help you understand the case against you and explain your options. They can also negotiate a resolution for you if that is your desire. Remember, it is always your choice whether to accept a plea, but your attorney can advise you on what they believe to be the best option. Contact us today for more information!
Why Hiring Lento Law Is the Right Choice
If you are being investigated or prosecuted federally for telemarketing fraud, then make sure that you speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Lento Law is the right choice to help you.