Mail fraud is a federal offense that carries serious penalties. The following takes a look at what mail fraud is, what the penalties for mail fraud are, and what you should do if you’re charged with mail fraud in Dallas.
What is mail fraud?
940.18 U.S.C. Section 1341- Elements of Mail Fraud, found in the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Resource manual, defines mail fraud as:
“Having devised or intending to devise a scheme to defraud (or to perform specified fraudulent acts), and use the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, the scheme (or specified fraudulent act).”
The law continues to read that the two specific elements of a mail fraud offense include the following:
• A scheme to defraud
• The mailing of a letter, etc. for the purpose of executing the scheme
As such, any act or plan to commit fraud that utilizes the postal service or other mail service carrier is an act of mail fraud, and is a federal offense. Furthermore, the act must be intentional; if using the mail causes a party the loss of money or results in fraud, but the fraud was not intentional, then no crime has been committed.
Penalties for Committing Mail Fraud
The penalties that a person convicted of mail fraud will face are entirely dependent upon the circumstances and extend of fraud (and money lost by the innocent party). However, some penalties that may result include: incarceration, fines—committing mail fraud can result in a fine of up to $250,000, community service, restitution payments, and probation. Prison time, if the maximum sentence is enforced, can be up to 20 years. Penalties for fines and prison time both increase if the fraud involves federal disaster relief.
Defenses For Mail Fraud
One of the best defenses to mail fraud is that the fraud was not committed with intent. Other defenses may include statute of limitations, lack or authority, or lack of loss of victims.
When Charged With Mail Fraud in Dallas
If you’ve been charged with mail fraud or wire fraud in Dallas, you should seek the counsel of a criminal attorney as soon as possible. Because mail fraud is a federal crime—not just a state one—having an attorney on your side is an absolutely necessity.
At Clancy & Clancy Attorneys at Law, we promise to be by your side if you’re facing mail fraud charges. To begin, you can contact us at any time, 24 hours a day, by calling (214) 550-5771.