The Consequences Of Committing Mail & Wire Fraud

Mail & Wire Fraud

Mail & wire fraud is any fraudulent method to purposely deprive another person of property or honest services via mail or wire communication.

Mail Fraud

U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.S. Mail is used to further a scheme, whether it originated in the mail, by telephone, or on the Internet. The use of the U.S. Mail is what makes it mail fraud.

There are many types of mail fraud schemes, including employment fraud, financial fraud, fraud against older Americans, sweepstakes and lottery fraud, and telemarketing fraud.  If evidence of a postal violation exists, Postal Inspectors may seek criminal or administrative action against the violator.  Unfortunately, if money is lost through a fraudulent scheme conducted via U.S. mail, Postal Inspectors lack the authority to ensure you receive a refund.

Postal Inspectors base investigations of mail fraud on the number, pattern, and substance of complaints received from the public. The Postal Inspection Service will carefully review the information you provide. The Postal Inspection Service may share the information with other agencies if there is a possible violation within their jurisdiction.

In order for a defendant to be convicted under 18 U.S.C. 1341 for committing mail fraud, the follow elements must be proven:

  1. The defendant must have been engaged in a scheme to defraud
  2. The scheme must have involved material mis-statements or errors
  3. The scheme resulted, or would have resulted upon completion, in the loss of money, property, or honest services
  4. The defendant used or caused the use of U.S. mail in furtherance of scheme to defraud

According to statute 18 U.S.C. § 1341, a person found guilty of mail fraud shall be fined and face imprisonment of no more than 20 years.  If the mail fraud relates to a financial institution or a presidentially-declared disaster or emergency, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than 30 years.

Wire Fraud

To commit wire fraud, a person must use some kind of "Interstate communications device." Interstate communications devices can be almost anything that send, receive, or otherwise transmit messages such as a cell phone, a fax machine, e-mail, or any kind of internet communication device to transmit messages.  People who commit wire fraud are typically looking for your personal financial information in order to use your credit cards or transfer money from your bank account.  One common example of wire fraud over the phone is telemarketing fraud.

Plenty of scammers have used the Internet to defraud people. "Phishing" is the practice by which a scammer will send out email to mass amounts of people.  The email will typically contain a somewhat convincing story and end with a request for the reader’s personal information.  Some schemes are easy to spot, but others are not.  Be wary of any email, TV broadcast, or phone call requesting your personal information.

A person cannot accidentally commit wire fraud.  In order to secure a conviction, federal prosecutors must show that a defendant acted with the intent to fraudulently deprive someone of money, property, or something of value.

A person found guilty of wire fraud under the statute 18 U.S.C. § 1343, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.  If the wire fraud relates to a financial institution or a presidentially-declared disaster or emergency, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment of not more than 30 years.

Make An Appointment With Our Firm

Please call 865-566-0125 or fill out this contact form to make an appointment with a lawyer from McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law. We take all federal crimes cases seriously, including mail and wire fraud cases. We will develop a defense strategy that works for your situation and is in your best interests.

Appointments are available at any of our three offices: Knoxville, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia. All initial telephone consultations are free and we accept credit cards.