Mail fraud is a federal crime. To prove mail fraud, a prosecutor must show that you intended to defraud persons to get their property or money and used the mail to carry out your scheme.
Using an interstate delivery service other than the U.S. postal service counts for determining if you used the mail for your scheme.
Punishment for the crime
The crime of mail fraud carries severe penalties. If convicted, you can receive a maximum jail sentence of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million if the crime involves a financial institution. If the offense is against individuals, you can still get up to 20 years in prison.
The elements of mail fraud include that you engaged in a scheme to defraud someone. If a prosecutor can prove you committed fraud, they can probably show that you violated other federal statutes. Mail fraud is commonly charged against persons in conjunction with racketeering, money laundering and securities fraud. Additional crimes could result in more fines and penalties.
Anyone you defraud through the mail can file a civil suit against you to recover damages. That person can use your conviction as evidence in the case.
Crime of moral turpitude
Mail fraud is a crime of moral turpitude. If you get convicted of such a crime, you may have trouble obtaining or maintaining a professional license. In addition, you cannot discharge any fines or money damages by filing bankruptcy.
A conviction of mail fraud can cause significant problems for you. You need to seek legal counsel if you are facing charges.