Most fraud schemes result in a hefty penalty if you end up charged and convicted. But did you know that some types of fraud are also considered federal offenses? This is the case with mail fraud, which would go on your record as a felony in the case of a conviction.
Why is mail fraud a felony? What should you do to protect yourself if you face such a charge?
The act of mail fraud
The Congressional Research Service discusses what mail fraud is. It is the involvement of the U.S. postal system in the act of defrauding someone. The act of fraud itself involves depriving a person of their assets, access to honest services, or goods. Meanwhile, a person committing fraud can use the postal system in many ways to achieve this goal.
Laws against mail fraud include all forms of mail. Examples include postcards, letters, parcels and more. These laws also cover whether someone uses private or public mailing systems. After all, even if you use a private mail courier, the mail will utilize portions of the U.S. postal system at some point.
Due to this use of government systems, mail fraud gets classified as a felony. As such, the penalties can seem incredibly steep. For example, convicted persons could face up to 20 years in prison. Fines range from $250,000 for an individual to $500,000 for organizations, too. Targeting financial institutions nets even harsher penalties, with potential jail sentences of 30 years and $1 million in fines. This also goes for fraud schemes aiming to take advantage of natural disasters.
If you are facing charges of mail fraud, you may want to discuss your options with an experienced legal professional. They can help guide you.