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How do mail and wire fraud differ?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2022 | Firm News |

White collar crime and blue-collar crime exist as two separate criminal categories, with most of the business world’s crimes falling into the former category.

This includes both mail and wire fraud, which hold numerous similarities. At the same time, they also have great differences.

Defining mail fraud

The Department of Justice discusses the elements that make up mail fraud. First and foremost, it must involve the use of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in some way. In short, this form of fraud uses the mail, whether that is postcards, letters, packages or more.

Mail fraud automatically constitutes as a federal offense due to the use of the postage system. Even if a person committing fraud uses private mail couriers, these couriers will still use the USPS system at some point in the transition of the package. As the USPS is a government entity, crimes involving it automatically fall into felony status.

Looking into wire fraud

Wire fraud differs because it relies on the use of “wire” or digital means of contact instead of contact by mail. It includes emails, text messages, phone calls, faxes, instant messages and communication on internet forums.

Both of these crimes come with severe penalties, including up to 20 years in jail and potential fines of half a million dollars or more. These days, wire fraud generally happens at a higher rate than mail fraud due to the increasing mobility of society toward technology and digital means of communication.

Due to the hefty penalties associated with both crimes, it is important for anyone facing such charges to seek legal aid immediately.