As correspondence increasingly becomes more electronic throughout the years, it may seem as if traditional mail is becoming more obsolete; yet, this is hardly the case, especially in regard to the topic of mail fraud. Mail fraud, which is similar to wire fraud, is a federal crime that the government continues to take very seriously and may prosecute those who are found guilty to the fullest degree. In order to find a person guilty, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a scheme to defraud, the individual acted with the intent to defraud, and he/she used the mails to further or carry out the scheme.
Stated simply, mail fraud is defrauding another person or entity by means of using a postal service. Primarily, it is almost always conducted for the purpose of wrongful financial gain and it can be committed against individuals, businesses, the government, and financial institutions. The investigation concerning this crime typically starts by the branch of the postal service called the US Postal Inspectors. They begin the process and if it is suspected then the case is sent to the Department of Justice for prosecution. Investigations, nonetheless, may be initiated by the FBI, IRS, or any other federal agency with investigative powers. In addition, the penalties for a conviction of mail fraud can be quite severe.
A convicted person can face up to 20 years in prison and substantial fines; however, if a financial institution is defrauded, a maximum prison term of 30 years and a fine of up to $1,000,000.00 could be imposed. Undoubtedly, being charged with the crime of mail fraud constitutes a serious problem. Rather than attempt to deal with the federal investigatory and prosecutorial system alone, it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced attorney who understands how to properly defend those accused of this act.
 Charles Doyle, “Mail and Wire Fraud: A Brief Overview of Federal Criminal Law,” Congressional Research Service, https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41930.pdf, modified July 21, 2011, accessed December 12, 2013.
 “Criminal Defense Lawyers- Defending the Rights of Those Charged With Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud,” https://www.texasdefenselawyers.com/html/mail-wire-fraud.html, last modified 2012, accessed December 12, 2013.
Please keep in mind the information and advice presented in this blog is not intended to be used as formal legal advice. Contact a tax professional for personalized tax advice pertaining to your specific situation. While we try and answer all parts of the question when we write our blogs, sometimes there may be some left unanswered. If you have any questions about your problems with the IRS, SBOE, FTB, or BOE, or tax law in general, call RJS Law at (619) 595-1655.