What are the penalties for mail fraud?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Fraud, White Collar Crimes

You have likely heard of the term mail fraud before, as it is one of the more common types of white-collar crimes that end in a relatively high number of convictions.

But why is this crime such a problem? The penalties for it often seem extremely harsh as well, but do you know what they are?

What is mail fraud?

Cornell Law School defines mail fraud as something used in the furtherance of another criminal act. In specific, the criminal act, in this case, is often fraud: i.e., the act of parting someone from their money, assets, goods or right to honest service through the use of generally underhanded means.

In order to face charges, you must have engaged in a defrauding scheme, involve misstatements or omissions in that scheme, and cause someone to lose the aforementioned items through the said scheme. Finally, this must all happen through the use of U.S. mail.

What penalties do you face?

If convicted of mail fraud, you face the possibility of facing an up to 20-year jail sentence. You may also have to pay victims restitution on top of a fine that can range from $250,000 for individuals to $1 million if the crime involved financial institutions or a natural disaster. For the latter, the potential time in jail also rises to 30 years.

You may even face other penalties, such as a period of probation. Obviously, any of these would have a serious impact on an individual’s life. Thus, if you find yourself facing mail fraud charges, consider seeking out an attorney to discuss your options.