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Bruce R. Bryan

Mail, Wire, or Bank Fraud

The United States has criminalized various schemes to defraud. The frauds are prosecuted under different federal statutes depending on whether the fraud involves the use of the mail, the “wires”, or a bank.

Federal Mail Fraud

Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1341, makes it a crime to commit “mail fraud”. The government must prove the following elements of the crime to obtain a conviction: (1) participation in a scheme to defraud with the intent to defraud; (2) money of property was the object of the scheme; and (3) the defendant used the mails to further the scheme.  A “scheme to defraud” involves some connotation of planning and pattern and intent to defraud. The government must show that the scheme was reasonably calculated to deceive persons of ordinary prudence and intelligence. The government need not show actual harm, but must show that the defendant contemplated doing actual harm.

Federal Wire Fraud

Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1343, makes it a crime to commit “wire fraud”. The government must prove the following elements of the crime to obtain a conviction: (1) participation in a scheme to defraud with the intent to defraud, (2) money or property was the object of the scheme, and (3) the defendant used the “wires” to further the scheme. A scheme to defraud is similarly defined as with mail fraud. The term “wire” generally refers to the use of the telephone, radio and television.

Federal Bank Fraud

Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1344, makes it a crime to commit “bank fraud”. A person commits “bank fraud” when he or she “knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution; or to obtain any moneys…or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.”

Issues in Federal Mail, Wire, and Bank Fraud Appeals

Federal mail, wire, or bank fraud appeals often involve multiple issues, including whether there was sufficient evidence on each of the elements of the crime(s) charged, For example, the appeal may challenge whether there existed a scheme to defraud, whether the defendant had the requisite level of intent to commit the crime, whether the item alleged to have been defrauded was money or property, or whether there was the requisite nexus to mails, “wires”, or financial institutions.

Other errors may have occurred in a mail, wire, or bank fraud case that affect an individual’s right to due process, such as pretrial errors, trial errors, and sentencing errors. In federal court, sentencing errors take on added significance due to the consideration of the federal sentencing guidelines, and non-guideline sentencing factors post-Booker.

The Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal

A defendant convicted in a federal district court for federal mail, wire, or bank fraud must generally appeal the conviction or sentence to one of the eleven United States Circuit Courts of Appeal, depending on the state in which the district court is located.

Representation by Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyer Bruce R. Bryan

As revealed in his attorney biography, federal criminal appeals lawyer Bruce R. Bryan has the commitment to excellence and extensive experience to effectively argue to a federal circuit court of appeal the strengths of your arguments and the weakness in the government’s case. In his career of more than 20 years as a federal criminal appeals lawyer, he has handled numerous federal criminal appeals, including mail, wire and bank fraud appeals.

He is the author of Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review and Parole in New York, a well-regarded treatise explaining the criminal appeals process in New York, including appeals from federal writs of habeas corpus (click here for a Free Downloadable Copy of his book). Mr. Bryan is an Adjunct Professor of Appellate Advocacy at Cornell Law School, an ivy league law school. He lectures other lawyers at programs on criminal appeals to federal circuit courts of appeal. He has also appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States.

To inquire about retaining Mr. Bryan to handle a federal criminal appeal, including an appeal from a mail, wire, or bank fraud conviction, or on a case in a related area of his practice, please contact him at his office in Syracuse, New York. Call 315-280-8790 to request an appointment or consultation.

B. Bryan, "Defendant's Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York," (2005)


Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York | Bryan Criminal Appeals Lawyer NY

The object of appellate advocacy is to persuade. The winning advocate focuses the court on the strength of your case. Read More

Cornell Adjunct Professor of Law


Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York | Bryan Criminal Appeals Lawyer NY

As an adjunct faculty, Professor Bryan teaches "Advanced Persuasive Writing and Appellate Advocacy" to second and third year law students at Cornell Law School. Read More