Mail Fraud- Federal
Section 1341 of Title 18 of the United States Code provides, in part, that:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice (to defraud), (or)(for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises,) … (and) for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service or takes or receives therefrom … or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail according to the direction thereon ….


shall be guilty of an offense against the United States.

 

The use of the United States mails is an essential element of the offense of mail fraud as charged in Count of the indictment.
The government is not required to prove that the defendant actually mailed anything or that the defendant even intended that the mails would be used to further, or to advance, or to carry out the [scheme or plan to defraud] [scheme or plan to obtain money or property by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises].
The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, however, that the mails were, in fact, used in some manner to further, or to advance, or to carry out the [scheme to defraud] [scheme to obtain money or property by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises]. The government must also prove that the use of the mails would follow in the ordinary course of business or events or that the use of the mails by someone was reasonably foreseeable.
It is not necessary for the government to prove that the item itself mailed was false or fraudulent or contained any false or fraudulent statement, representation, or promise, or contained any request for money or thing of value.
The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, however, that the use of the mails furthered, or advanced, or carried out, in some way, the [scheme or plan to defraud] [scheme or plan to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises].


 The phrase [“any scheme or artifice to defraud”] [“any scheme or artifice for obtaining money or property”] means any deliberate plan of action or course of conduct by which someone intends to deceive or to cheat another or by which someone intends to deprive another of something of value.
The term “false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises” means a statement or an assertion which concerns a material or important fact or a material or important aspect of the matter in question and that was either known to be untrue at the time that it was made or used, or that was made or used with reckless indifference as to whether it was, in fact, true or false, and made or used with the intent to defraud. A material fact is a fact that would be of importance to a reasonable person in making a decision about a particular matter or transaction.
The term “false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises” includes actual, direct false statements as well as half-truths, and includes the knowing concealment of facts that are material or important to the matter in question and that were made or used with the intent to defraud.
A “scheme or artifice to defraud” includes a scheme to deprive another person of tangible as well as intangible property rights. Intangible property rights means anything valued or considered to be a source of wealth [including, for example, the right to honest services and the right to decide how one's money is spent].
It is not necessary for the government to prove that the defendant was actually [successful in defrauding anyone][successful in obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises]. It is not necessary for the government to prove that anyone lost any money or property as a result of the [scheme or plan to defraud] [scheme or plan to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises].
An unsuccessful [scheme or plan to defraud] [scheme or plan to obtain money by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises] is as illegal as a scheme or plan that is ultimately successful.

“it only takes the thoughts of the defendant to devise the scheme. Those thoughts become criminal conduct once the defendant uses the United States mails in furtherance of that scheme.”

To act with an “intent to defraud” means to act knowingly and with the intention or the purpose to deceive or to cheat.
An intent to defraud is accompanied, ordinarily, by a desire or a purpose to bring about some gain or benefit to oneself or some other person or by a desire or a purpose to cause some loss to some person.

[Each use of the mails] [Each transmission by wire, radio, or television communication in interstate commerce] to advance, or to further, or to carry out [the scheme or plan to defraud] [the scheme or plan to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises] may be a separate violation of the [mail][wire] fraud statute.

The good faith of Defendant   is a complete defense to the charge of [mail] [wire] [bank] fraud contained in Count   of the indictment because good faith on the part of the defendant is, simply, inconsistent with [the intent to defraud] [the intent to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises] alleged in that charge.
A person who acts, or causes another person to act, on a belief or an opinion honestly held is not punishable under this statute merely because the belief or opinion turns out to be inaccurate, incorrect, or wrong. An honest mistake in judgment or an error in management does not rise to the level of intent to defraud.
A defendant does not act in “good faith” if, even though [he] [she] honestly holds a certain opinion or belief, that defendant also knowingly makes false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises to others.
The [mail] [wire] [bank] fraud statute is written to subject to criminal punishment only those people who [knowingly defraud or attempt to defraud] [knowingly obtain money or property or attempt to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises].
While the term “good faith” has no precise definition, it means, among other things, a belief or opinion honestly held, an absence of malice or ill will, and an intention to avoid taking unfair advantage of another.
In determining whether or not the government has proven that the defendant acted with an intent to [defraud] [obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises] or whether the defendant acted in good faith, the jury must consider all of the evidence in the case bearing on the defendant's state of mind.
The burden of proving good faith does not rest with the defendant because the defendant does not have any obligation to prove anything in this case. It is the government's burden to prove to you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Defendant acted with the [intent to defraud] [intent to obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises].
If the evidence in the case leaves the jury with a reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant acted with an intent to [defraud] [obtain money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises] or in good faith, the jury must acquit Defendant .

 

18  1341 

 
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