What is Mail Fraud?
If you’ve ever seen a US Postal Service police car and wondered what USPS police officers investigate one of the most common offenses the United States Postal Inspection Service investigates is Mail Fraud. Drug charges are a close second.
Mail fraud is codified under 18 USC 1341. Essentially if you are committing fraud and during the course of the fraud you use the postal service or another mail carrier, you are subject to being prosecuted for wire fraud.
Elements of Mail Fraud:
There are two elements in mail fraud: (1) having devised or intending to devise a scheme to defraud (or to perform specified fraudulent acts), and (2) use of the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, the scheme (or specified fraudulent acts).
Example of Mail Fraud
Also, if that person did the same thing except sent the photo through Fedex and was paid by check through U.S. Mail, then the person committed mail fraud in both of those ways.
It is important to know that the U.S. Guidelines Manual sets forth recommendations to U.S. Courts to punish these types of offenses. Put simply, penalties are set according to loss amount and intended loss amount. This means that person may receive additional punishment for attempted behavior that never results in a loss.
These cases often require a strong familiarity with federal criminal procedure, technical expertise, and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Further, these cases are often investigated by examining bank records, computer records, search warrants, and witness interviews. Such prosecutions are often complex.
A person being targeted by a federal agency for any white collar crime, particularly mail and wire fraud, should seek legal representation before speaking with any agent.