The term “mail fraud” sounds like a minor offense. Most people don’t even know what it means, but they can still face federal charges if they’re accused of participating in it.
Mail fraud can involve a range of prohibited activities. If you are under investigation or arrest for this offense, it serves your best interests to understand the charges you face. In the simplest terms, mail fraud means using a mail delivery service to defraud people or organizations. You could face federal charges for involvement in a scheme even if you never sent fraudulent documents.
It doesn’t have to involve the post office
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is not the only means of engaging in such activities. Those using FedEx, UPS and other services to defraud others can face the same charges. Three examples of mail fraud include:
- Contacting seniors in order to obtain money in a fraudulent scam
- Following up on mailings with telemarketing to obtain personal information or sell worthless products
- Employment fraud through false job offers, pyramid schemes and check-cashing scams
It is also a form of mail fraud to send brochures and pamphlets offering goods or services at low prices and with no intent to deliver them.
What are the possible legal consequences?
As a federal white collar crime, mail fraud could lead to costly fines and imprisonment for up to 20 years. As such, those accused or arrested benefit from having a defense strategy as early as possible. With experienced legal guidance, you have a better chance of having the charge against you reduced or dropped.