Crimes often fall into one of two categories: white collar and blue collar crimes. For example, fraud is a white collar crime while armed robbery is a blue collar crime.
Even white collar crimes come with hefty penalties if you are convicted. This is especially true when it involves the U.S. government in any way, as is the case with mail fraud.
Why is mail fraud a felony?
Why does the federal government prosecute mail fraud cases? Simply put, any form of mail fraud must sooner or later utilize the United States postal system. Even if you use private couriers, all mail travels through the government’s hands at some point. Thus, mail fraud is classified as a federal felony due to the criminal use of the postal system.
What are the penalties for mail fraud?
If convicted of mail fraud, you can face a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. You can also face $250,000 in fines for an individual and up to $500,000 for an organization. If you target financial institutions, these penalties rise; you could then face 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. The same increased punishment can be imposed if you take advantage of a natural disaster for a fraud scheme.
In addition to the fine and jail sentence, you may also face a term of supervised release or probation. A minimum of two years in prison must be imposed for any use of identity theft in furthering the fraud. Because of these strict sentencing rules, you should speak with a qualified attorney sooner rather than later.