Mail Fraud Statute Definition by Mail Fraud Defense Law AttorneyApril 14, 2010
What is Mail Fraud?
Fraudulent misrepresentations and schemes to defraud which use the United States mail to further that fraudulent conduct, can be prosecuted as “mail fraud.”
The United States Attorney’s Office will seek an Indictment (a charging document formally charging the person with a crime) for mail fraud when the prosecution believes it has evidence of any fraud scheme that uses the mail systems to make that fraud scheme function.
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There is no specific requirement for the type of fraudulent scheme that has to be alleged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, only that there is some kind of fraud or misrepresentation wherein the U.S. mails or commercial carriers are used to mail an item related to the scheme, such as a check, a contract, an application for credit, property valuations, etc.
Originally, the mail fraud statute required some type of use of the U.S. mail; now, the statute requires the use of either the U.S. mail or any mail carrier in an attempt to carry out the fraud.
The United States Code contains federal crimes that are prosecuted by the Department of Justice or its field offices, the United States Attorney’s Offices, in respective districts in the different states. Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, is titled Frauds and Swindles, and it is commonly referred to as the “mail fraud” statute. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1341 reads as follows (in summary):
MAIL FRAUD DEFINITION AND PUNISHMENT
1) having devised, or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud,
2) for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan…
3) something of value or some item…and
4) places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter
5) any item to be delivered by interstate carrier
shall be fined …or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.
SUCCESSFUL MAIL FRAUD DEFENSE CASE(S)
INVESTIGATION CLOSED / NO INDICTMENT - Federal investigation in the Eastern District of Texas for bank fraud and mail fraud. The United States Attorney’s Office declined in 2006 to seek an Indictment in an investigation of alleged fraud by a travel agency after “9/11” created restricted booking availability abroad. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to proceed after defense counsel presentations.
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