There’s no doubt that more transactions – both legal and illegal – are done via the Internet and other electronic means than in the not-so-distant past. That’s what wire fraud charges typically involve. However, people can and do face mail fraud charges every day.
Both are serious federal offenses, and the consequences can be equally serious. Both leave their own “paper trail,” whether it’s literally paper or not. Therefore, prosecutors can accumulate a great deal of evidence against someone charged with these crimes. Let’s take a brief look at both of them.
It involves illegal activity carried out online or via telecommunications. This includes everything from websites to apps to email and texts to social media and good old-fashioned phone calls.
Federal law defines it as using “interstate wire communications” to “defraud another out of money.” Whether someone planned the scheme or participated in it – even unwittingly – they could face prison time and fines.
Sentences go up to 20 years and fines can be as high as $250,000. If a wire fraud scheme targeted victims of a natural disaster (for example, hurricane repairs) or there were other special circumstances, the penalties could be greater.
This is any “scheme to defraud” people that involves the United States Postal Service (USPS) or any type of courier service. Credit card fraud is a common example of mail fraud. If any part of a scheme involved sending or soliciting something through the mail, FedEx or other carrier. Identity theft crimes often still involve the mail.
If you’re facing an investigation or have already been charged with one of these crimes, it’s critical that you get sound legal guidance as soon as possible. This can help you protect your rights and your future.