Mail fraud is a similar charge to wire fraud. Unlike wire fraud, though, mail fraud doesn’t use electronic communication. Instead, it involves an individual attempting to defraud someone else through the use of a mail carrier such as the US Postal Service. If a person is charged with mail fraud, this means that they intentionally used the mail system for this defrauding scheme. Mail fraud is also a federal crime, meaning that people charged with it might face harsh penalties.
Mail fraud and wire fraud are both crimes with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The severity of the penalty depends on the amount of money or number of assets that the individuals managed to defraud. Federal sentencing guidelines also outline other factors that influence the severity of the charge.
If a scheme is related to a major disaster declared by the president, or the loss is suffered by a financial institution, the maximum penalty jumps from 20 to 30 years.
If you have been charged with any type of fraudulent activity, it’s almost inevitable that you will face an additional charge of either wire fraud or mail fraud. It’s also easy for prosecutors to prove that wire or mail fraud occurred due to the presumable existence of concrete evidence. This makes the hiring of an attorney doubly imperative. You need maximum protection against the might of the United States federal court system and prosecution.
It’s common for people to face multiple fraud charges for the same scheme. Multiple convictions can result in a number of long sentences that must be served consecutively. If you receive fifteen years in prison for wire fraud, and fifteen years for a related charge, you’ll be facing thirty years in prison.
It’s not necessary for the electronic communication or piece of mail to be an essential part of the fraud. Even if you refer to the scheme once in an unrelated phone conversation, it’s possible that you might be prosecuted. You might not even need to wire or mail any fraudulent materials. If a scheme involves the wiring or mailing of money to you by the alleged victims, you can be charged with mail or wire fraud.
If you’re aware that your employer has engaged in some sort of fraudulent scheme, and they ask you to help them in any way, you might be charged with aiding and abetting the fraud. This help might be something as simple as the mailing of informational envelopes related to the scheme. Even if you didn’t know what the contents of the envelopes contained, and you weren’t involved at all in the fraud otherwise, you might still face prosecution. If you took 50 envelopes to the post office, you might face 50 individual counts of committing mail fraud or aiding and abetting mail fraud.
Usually, wire and mail fraud charges will be added to serious fraud charges. The common charges you’ll see paired with these are:
- Tax fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Bank fraud
- Honest services fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Securities fraud
If you believe you might be subject to wire or mail fraud charges in the future, you should get in contact with an attorney as soon as possible. If you’re arrested and charged with wire or mail fraud, you should contact your attorney before you say anything to law enforcement. Use your right to remain silent. Silence is better than giving law enforcement and the prosecution quotes to use against you later.