The use of the postal system to commit fraud is the primary meaning of mail fraud, and it is often a federal crime that comes with severe penalties. There are certain elements that are needed to bring a conviction of mail fraud.
Main elements of mail fraud
The two main elements of mail fraud include the intentional act of creating a plan to commit fraud and using the U.S. mail system to commit fraudulent acts. To uncover fraud, the legal system must prove that additional elements exist, which include a deliberate plot to defraud, intentionally false information that would result in the loss of money and tangible assets, and the use of the U.S. mailing system.
Sending any type of falsified information through the mail, from a real or fake person or company, is the most common example of mail fraud. This includes sending a fake invoice from a business for the purpose of obtaining a payment illegally. Another example is stealing checks or packages from a neighbor’s mailbox.
Mail fraud is a serious charge according to any New York criminal defense attorney. The penalties are extremely high at costs of $250,000 up to $1 million. If the fraud involves a bank, lender or financial institution, the penalty could include up to 30 years in prison.
The meaning of mail fraud
Fraudsters use all types of creative methods to impersonate banks, employers, government agencies and other organizations. For mail fraud to occur, there must be an intentional scheme to defraud an individual or company, and the fraudulent act must be proved to have been committed using the mail system.