Mail fraud is a commonly misunderstood charge. Nonetheless, mail fraud accusations are serious and require a high level of understanding to mount a proper defense.
While there is no substitute for experienced legal counsel to handle mail fraud charges, understanding the basics is a good place to start. Here are three frequently asked questions about mail fraud.
What is mail fraud?
Mail fraud is a term used to cover any fraudulent activity that utilizes the U.S. Postal Service or another private carrier to execute the crime. For example, requesting that someone send a check or money order in the mail in exchange for falsely promised goods or services constitutes mail fraud.
What are the legal consequences of committing mail fraud?
The legal consequences for committing mail fraud vary depending on the crime but typically involve fines, prison time or both. For general mail fraud, the outcome includes fines and up to 20 years in prison. If mail fraud affects a financial institution or involves a presidential disaster or emergency declaration, the maximum penalty is 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.
What proof does the prosecution need to convict someone of mail fraud?
To reach a mail fraud conviction, the prosecution must prove that the accused intentionally misrepresented their claims to gain assets. Prosecutors must also show that the defendant used the mail or a private carrier to fulfill the crime.
Mail fraud convictions carry hefty consequences. Knowledge of the charges is vital to mounting a thorough defense against them.