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Why is mail fraud a federal offense?

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2022 | federal offenses | 0 comments

Fraud charges often carry bigger potential penalties with them than some people may think. However, mail fraud in particular harbor enormous penalties that could alter a person’s entire future.

Just what about mail fraud makes it such a heavy impact charge? To start, it is classified as a federal offense.

What are mail fraud schemes?

The United States Department of Justice discusses the federal offense of mail fraud. First, it is important to understand fraud in general. Any fraudulent act aims to separate a person from their rights to honest service, their assets or their money.

Mail fraud in particular uses the mail system to do this. A classic example of a mail fraud scheme involves a postcard soliciting money for an organization that is not really a charity, though it may masquerade as one. However, mail fraud schemes can involve anything from postcards to packages to padded envelopes and more.

The reason for its classification as a felony is due to its status as a federal crime. Mail fraud requires a person to make use of the U.S. postal service’s facilities and as such involves a government entity.

Associated penalties

As a felony, mail fraud comes with some hefty penalties. First of all, a person can face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. However, if the target of a fraud scheme was an institution such as a bank, this fine rises to a maximum of $1 million and up to 30 years in prison.

Needless to say, these penalties could bankrupt anyone and change the course of a person’s life. Taking the charges seriously from the start is crucial.