Mail fraud is a federal offense that occurs when a person uses the the post office mail or an interstate carrier service to commit dishonest or fraudulent activities. Specific federal crimes that may be implicated when a person commits mail fraud include mortgage fraud, wire fraud, organized fraud, health care fraud, and identity theft, among others. If convicted of mail fraud, a defendant may face imprisonment for no more than twenty years and/or a fine. However, if the criminal offense affects a financial institution, then punishment is more severe; punishment may include up to thirty years in prison and/or fines of up to $1,000,000.
When Can You Be Charged With Mail Fraud?
Mail fraud only applies to mailings within the United States from domestic carriers such as the post office, FedEx, or UPS, to name a few. The mail must also travel across borders, originating in one state and then reaching its final destination in another.
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
Elements to Mail Fraud
There are three main elements to mail fraud: intent, a “scheme” to defraud or the actual obtaining of others’ property by fraud, and a mail communication aiding in the commission of the fraudulent crime.
Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with mail fraud or believe you may be charged in the future, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Fort Lauderdale Federal criminal defense attorney Kenneth Padowitz will provide the strategic criminal defense you need. Our firm exclusively handles both State and Federal criminal defense cases throughout the U.S. and South Florida, including: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tamarac, Palm Beach, Weston, Boca Raton, and Plantation. Call Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. to discuss this important matter.