People who face criminal charges in St. Louis for mail fraud come from all walks of life. Some of them commit the crime with malicious intent, others do so because they have fallen on hard times or feel they have no other legal resources available. Anyone facing criminal charges for mail fraud should take immediate and reasonable action to improve the outcome of their situation. 

Mail fraud is a federal crime that carries serious and long-lasting penalties. Here is a brief overview of the elements necessary to substantiate a mail fraud crime

What is mail fraud? 

Documents, parcels and other goods transmitted through the United States Postal system and other carriers, such as FedEx, UPS and DHL, fall under the jurisdiction of federal law. Mail fraud occurs when someone attempts to bribe, mislead, coerce, steal or deceive others with documents, goods and other items transported through the mail. Also, making erroneous statements with the intent to commit theft, fraud and other crimes involving other people’s mail or property transmitted through the mail is mail fraud.

Common types of mail fraud include predatory schemes, such as bogus lotteries, sweepstakes, contests and charity donation requests to gain access to private and sensitive information for personal gain. Examples of sensitive information include credit card and bank account numbers, names, birthdates and Social Security numbers. 

How does a mail fraud charge become a criminal conviction? 

For a mail fraud charge to become a conviction, the prosecution must prove two elements: intent and the use of the mail or postal system. Mail fraud is a felony crime that carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Sentencing may also include restitution to the victims and fines of up to $250,000. Depending on the circumstances involving the crime, some individuals who work in cooperation or partnership with one or more people or an organization find themselves dealing with RICO and other criminal charges. This can lead to a much lengthier prison sentence, fines and other penalties.

If you face serious criminal charges such as mail fraud, it is always wise to enlist representation from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately. Any delay can further damage your case.