What is the Difference Between Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud?

If you are being charged with a federal fraud offense, it is critical to have an aggressive federal fraud crimes defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Given that many federal fraud cases begin with investigations that can take months or even years, you should ideally hire a defense lawyer to begin working on your case as soon as you know that you are under investigation. Once you have been arrested or charged with a particular offense, it is more important than ever to begin developing a defense strategy for your case.

It is critical to understand that you will not simply be arrested for fraud in general, but for a particular kind of fraud offense. You should also know that you can face multiple fraud charges at once under federal law. What are the differences between types of fraud offenses, and specifically between mail fraud and wire fraud? An experienced Dallas fraud defense attorney at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC can provide you with more information about the differences between mail fraud and wire fraud crimes under federal law.

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is a particular kind of federal fraud offense that is typically charged under 18 U.S. Code § 1341, which is a statute for “frauds and swindles.” There are two general elements of mail fraud that the prosecution must prove: 1) You devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud; and 2) You used the mail for purposes of executing or attempting to execute, the scheme.

While mail fraud might not seem like a particularly serious offense, it is essential for you to know that mail fraud, along with the other types of fraud we are discussing here, can result in significant penalties in the event of a conviction. If you are convicted, you can face up to 20 years in prison and, in some cases, up to 30 years in prison. You can also be required to pay a fine of up to $1 million. Even merely using a false name or mailing address through the U.S. mail can result in up to five years in prison and a significant monetary fine under 18 U.S. Code § 1342.

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud elements are similar to mail fraud. Under 18 U.S. Code § 1343, the prosecution needs to prove: 1) You devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud; and 2) You used an interstate wire communication for purposes of executing, or attempting to execute, the scheme.

Wire fraud can involve use of a computer, cell phone, text messaging function, or any other interstate wire communication device. A wire fraud conviction can result in up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for an individual. If the crime involved a financial institution, you can face up to 30 years in prison.

Contact Our Dallas Federal Fraud Defense Attorneys for Assistance

When you are under investigation for a federal mail or wire fraud offense, or you have been arrested for or charged with a fraud crime, an aggressive Dallas federal fraud defense attorney at our firm can begin working with you today on a defense strategy for your case. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC to learn more about the defense services we provide.