Mail fraud is a serious crime that is a federal felony. It comes in many forms, and we’ll share some mail fraud examples here to help you identify if your situation may fall under this crime category. If someone has accused you of federal mail fraud, you should contact the experienced lawyers at Zoukis Consulting Group as soon as possible.
What is Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud is a federal crime that involves soliciting personal information and making false promises through the mail to take people’s money.
The U.S. Department of Justice states that two factors must be at play to classify a situation as mail fraud: Approaching the act to defraud and using the mail system to carry out the scam.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, older people have lost millions of dollars to mail fraud schemes. In most cases, the fraudsters take only $20 or $30 at a time, and they may do it by asking for credit card details, social security numbers, and even direct money.
When someone believes they’re a victim of mail fraud, they may contact the Federal Trade Commission, which shares the report with over 3,000 law enforcers. An investigation into the fraud may then begin, which can sometimes take years to complete.
Types of Mail Fraud
Mail fraud comes in many forms. Some examples include:
- Mail in voting fraud
- Letters stating someone received an inheritance
- Mimicking a charity and asking for donations
- Creating propaganda about lotteries or sweepstakes
- Mailing information about Ponzi or pyramid schemes
- Concocting mail that appears to come from the government
The list above is far from exhaustive. The United States Postal Inspection Service states that mail fraud also includes online auctions and chain letters. Vacation fraud, work-at-home schemes, and fake mystery shopping are other examples of mail fraud.
Furthermore, mail fraud often targets people with poor credit. These people may receive letters in the mail offering them a credit card without the need for a credit score check. If these people need credit fast, they may not question the advanced fee it says they need to pay.
Mail fraud may also try to entice lower-income people to purchase fake low-cost health insurance, or they may try to get higher-income people to invest in non-existent property or commodities.
Mail vs. Wire Fraud
It’s common for people to confuse mail and wire fraud, as both involve using communication methods to deceive people with the goal of personal financial gain.
Mail fraud involves carrying out illegal solicitation of money by using the U.S. postal service, a private carrier, or a commercial interstate carrier (such as FedEx and UPS).
On the other hand, wire fraud involves using an interstate wire transmission for financial gains. Examples of ways people perform wire fraud include email, phone calls, and text messages.
Why Is Mail Fraud a White-Collar Crime?
Mail fraud is a white-collar crime because it’s a non-violent act with financial motivations. Even though mail fraud doesn’t do physical harm to others, whether it’s USPS mail fraud or electronic mail fraud, these are serious crimes under U.S. federal law.
Even though mail fraud isn’t violent, it’s still a severe crime. Nevertheless, a mail fraud felony involves different repercussions depending on the nature and extent of the fraud.
Individuals may face up to five years in prison and fines of as much as one-quarter million dollars. When financial institutions become involved, the fine can quadruple, and prison sentences can be as long as 30 years.
How a Mail Fraud Lawyer Can Help
Being accused of mail fraud is an unsettling time in anyone’s life. The mail fraud defense lawyers at Zoukis Consulting Group will work with you to understand your situation and make a case that shows your side of the story in a more positive way.
Mail fraud investigations require patience, as they can take years to complete. During that time, prosecutors will reach out to the delivery service, alleged victims, and you as the defendant. Your mail fraud lawyer at Zoukis Consulting Group will then analyze the prosecutors’ findings, fact-check those findings with you, and design a case that helps show the prosecutors’ argument in a different light. Should the jury find you guilty, your mail fraud defense attorney will likely be able to help you improve the terms of a penalty.
When choosing a mail fraud attorney, it’s crucial to do your due diligence. Don’t settle for someone with little experience. Call Zoukis Consulting Group today.
Published Feb 15, 2022 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Feb 1, 2023 at 5:50 pm