According to attorney Russ Kofman, any behavior that may seem harmless can be subject to a serious federal crime if it involves the mail in a criminal fraud or scheme. Any innocent mailing can also be brought under the law’s jurisdiction. A scheme to defraud means stealing money from someone else by lying to them.
Attorney Arthur Lebedin adds that it is very easy to commit mail fraud. The penalties for mail fraud are also some of the most severe for nonviolent crimes. A defendant may face up to 20 years in prison if they are convicted. The defendant may also be made to pay a fine of up to $250,000.
In the article, both lawyers explain that the prosecution must be able to prove certain things beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict someone. These reasons to convict include that the defendant devised a scheme to defraud another person, that the defendant intentionally tried to defraud another person, and that the defendant used or caused someone else to use the mail during the course of the scheme.
Attorney Kofman adds that, “The mail fraud state is very broad and can be used in many different cases brought by federal prosecutors. The mailing does not have to be illegal; it only has to be related to the scheme to defraud another. A case may begin with the United State Postal Inspection Service or by any other federal law enforcement agency such as the FBI or IRS.”