Washington D.C. has harsh laws that handle mail fraud. You can end up facing time in jail and enormous fees if convicted of a charge related to mail fraud. The severity of these penalties depend on the severity of the charges.
Thus, it is important to understand what mail fraud is and how the law handles charges.
What is mail fraud?
The Congressional Research Service defines mail fraud, the statutes of which may have a broad reach. Mail fraud stands apart from wire fraud in that it strictly involves the use of the United States postal system. This includes both public and private venues of sending mail, including the United States Postal Service (USPS). The scope also covers anything sent by mail, including postcards, letters, packages and more.
To commit mail fraud, you must first commit fraud. This means knowingly attempt to obtain property or money under false pretenses. In other cases, fraud can involve the distribution, exchange, sale, use or supply of counterfeits. Then, you must use the postal system to carry this fraud out.
What penalties may you face?
By law, mail fraud is punishable with a sentence of up to 20 years of imprisonment. You may also face a fine of $250,000 if acting as an individual. Organizations convicted of committing mail fraud face fines of up to $500,000. If convicted of targeting a financial institution or taking advantage of a natural disaster, you face up to 30 years in prison or $1 million in fines.
On top of that, there is a mandatory 2 year prison sentence if identity theft had any involvement in the criminal accusations. You may also deal with a period of supervised release or probation. As you can see, one mail fraud conviction can impact your life for years or even decades to come, making a strong defense crucial.