In Texas, there are laws handling both mail and wire fraud. Though these crimes often end up conflated through their similarities, they are quite different.

Depending on the charge faced, the penalties if convicted can change on a notable level. If facing any sort of charge related to fraud crimes, it is important to understand these differences.

How is mail fraud defined?

Cornell Law School defines mail fraud as the use of U.S. mail in the furtherance of a criminal act. To face a mail fraud charge, several factors must remain present. First, you must have had engagement in a scheme to defraud. Next, this scheme should have involved omissions or material misstatements. Third, someone must have lost honest services, property or money due to the scheme. If this scheme did not come to fruition, the end result should have remained the same. Fourth, you must have used a U.S. mail service. Finally, you must have been the one to use (or cause the use of) the mail.

How does wire fraud differ?

The United States Department of Justice Archives looks at elements of wire fraud. They state that wire fraud is a crime parallel to mail fraud, differing in one major way. Instead of the use of the U.S. mail system, it involves the use of an interstate telephone or another form of electronic communication. This can include faxes, text messages, emails, chat conversations and more.

Mail fraud often boasts heftier penalties due to the use of the U.S. mail system. The law considers this a felony rather than a misdemeanor, even if a person uses private courier services.