A New York City Defense Attorney Explains Mass Marketing Fraud Scams
The United States Department of Justice defines “mass marketing fraud” to include: “any type of fraud scheme that uses one or more mass-communication techniques and technologies – such as the Internet, telephones, the mail, and even mass meetings in person — to present fraudulent solicitations to numbers of prospective victims.” Losses caused by mass marketing fraud may exceed $550 million annually within the United States.
Federal authorities, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are often involved in investigations of suspected mass marketing fraud. Defendants frequently face a lengthy list of criminal charges, with multi-count indictments putting them at risk of decades of imprisonment. Not all NY criminal defense attorneys are prepared to provide representation in such high-stakes cases, but Bukh Law Firm, PLLC excels in representing defendants accused of using popular communication tools to perpetrate frauds. Give us a call to learn about our knowledge in this complex area of law and to find out how we can help you.
Types of Mass Marketing Fraud
Because mass marketing fraud has such a broad definition, there are hundreds of fraud schemes which could be considered to fall within this category of criminal behavior. Some of the most common examples of mass marketing fraud include:
- Advance-fee fraud– Victims are promised something (which never comes) as long as they make an up front payment.
- Auction fraud– Auction fraud includes shill bidding, selling fake items as real, and a variety of other misleading behaviors on eBay and other online auction sites.
- Work at home or business opportunity fraud– Victims are enticed to pay for business opportunities or work-at-home opportunities that aren’t legitimate.
- Credit card interest reduction schemes– Consumers pay fees in exchange for promised reductions in card interest rate, which never come.
- Will scams and inheritance scams– Victims are told they’ve inherited money but must provide financial account details or pay upfront taxes and fees to get it.
- Foreign lottery schemes– Victims are enticed with promises of large prizes (which don’t exist) to pay small fees or taxes on their so-called winnings.
- Online sales scams– Sellers are given bad checks for items they are selling online, and are sometimes asked to re-send a portion of the money that was included in the check along with the item.
- Romance scams– Online dating or social networking sites are used to entice people to send money or gifts to fake romantic partners.
- Bank and financial account scams– Various techniques are used to obtain bank and financial account details so accounts can be unlawfully accessed by non-owners.
- Phishing- Websites are created that appear to be legitimate, but that aren’t, in order to obtain information for identity theft.
- Vishing- Using the telephone to fish for personal information.
- Investment fraud scams– Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, or other fake investments are sold with misleading promises.
- Pump and dump scams– A penny stock is pushed through a boiler room operation, and after the stock is sold by the scammers, its price collapses since it is no longer being aggressively marketed.
- Short-selling scams– False information is disseminated to prompt a drop in a stock price.
Essentially, you can be charged with mass marketing fraud in these and other situations in which you communicate misleading information to large groups of people using any method of communication.
Penalties for Mass Marketing Fraud
Penalties vary significantly based on the specific crime a defendant has been accused of committing. Often, the defendant faces federal charges and can be indicted for multiple offenses including mail and wire fraud- which each carry maximum penalties of 30 years incarceration if a financial institution was one of the targets of a fraud scheme.
Defendants accused of involvement in fraud offenses may also find federal authorities have frozen their accounts or seized funds; that they are being sued in civil court; and that they are required to repay money to alleged victims. The penalties can be financially devastating and can change your life forever.
How a New York City Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience with cases involving allegations of mass marketing fraud. We represent clients based in the U.S., as well as international clients under investigation or under arrest by authorities within the United States. Call our New York City criminal law defense team as soon as you can when you are concerned about an arrest so we can begin developing an effective legal strategy for your specific case.