White collar crime stands apart from blue collar crime in many ways, including the reason for a crime to end up considered a federal offense. For example, tampering with mail in any way counts as a federal crime due to the involvement of a government entity: the United States Postal Service.
Because of that, mail fraud crimes actually end up charged as federal offenses and often have the penalty to match. What should you know then about the potential penalties associated with mail fraud?
What is mail fraud?
The Congressional Research Service looks into both wire and mail fraud. Mail fraud by definition involves using the physical mail system as a way to commit fraud, i.e. parting someone with their goods, money or access to honest services. Cases of mail fraud can involve anything from letters to postcards to packages and will count even if you use a private mail carrier. This is due to the fact that even private carriers rely on the USPS system at some point in the package’s journey.
What does sentencing look like?
As far as sentencing goes, as a federal crime, you can face steep fines and lengthy jail sentences. This includes fines of up to $250,000 for individuals, $500,000 for organizations, and $1 million if the case:
- Victimized a financial institution or
- Committed the fraud offense in relation to a natural disaster
You could also face up to 20 years imprisonment for the former charges and up to 30 years for the latter. On top of that, you may face terms of supervised release, probationary periods, special assessments and forfeiture orders.
If you wish to learn more about mail fraud as a crime and potential penalties those convicted may face, consider contacting legal aid to learn more.