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Understanding Federal Mail Fraud: Elements and Consequences

 Posted on August 16,2023 in White Collar Crimes

Untitled---2023-08-16T115051.861.jpgFederal mail fraud is a grave criminal offense that involves the use of the mail system to defraud individuals or entities. Today, we will look at the elements required to establish a federal mail fraud charge, the laws governing it, and the potential consequences for those convicted of this crime. As this is a federal crime, you need to obtain astute legal counsel at once, as not doing so will likely make a negative case outcome more likely

Definition and Elements of Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is a federal offense that involves any scheme to defraud or obtain property through false or fraudulent means, utilizing the U.S. Postal Service or private mail carriers. The elements of the offense are as follows:

  • Intent to commit fraud – The defendant must have possessed the intent to defraud another party through false or fraudulent means. Intent can be demonstrated through clear evidence that the individual knowingly participated in a scheme designed to deceive and harm others for personal or financial gain.

  • Use of mail – The defendant must have used the U.S. Postal Service or a private mail carrier to facilitate the scheme. This may involve sending or receiving fraudulent documents, false representations, or any communication related to the fraudulent scheme through the mail system

  • Material misrepresentations – The scheme to defraud must involve material misrepresentations or false statements that induce individuals to act in a way that results in financial harm. Whether written or oral, these misrepresentations must be substantial and play a crucial role in furthering the fraud


Consequences of Mail Fraud Convictions

Convictions for federal mail fraud often result in stiff penalties, including:

  • Prison – It is not uncommon for those found guilty of mail fraud to face significant prison sentences, sometimes as much as 20 years per count. The actual sentence imposed depends on the case's specific circumstances, including the severity of the fraud, the amount of financial loss, and the defendant's criminal history

  • Fines – Penalties for mail fraud may include substantial fines. Convicted individuals may be required to pay fines up to $250,000 or above if the scheme involved organizations or corporations involved in the fraudulent scheme

  • Restitution and asset forfeiture – Courts may also order restitution, whereby convicted individuals must pay back the individuals for their financial losses. Additionally, asset forfeiture may occur, allowing the government to seize assets obtained through the fraudulent scheme


Contact a Knoxville, TN, Federal Crimes Defense Attorney

To give yourself a chance at a positive case outcome, contact the experienced Knox County federal crimes defense lawyers with Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney. Call 865-281-1000 for a free consultation

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