Mail fraud is one of the most serious offenses in Michigan and elsewhere. If you find yourself charged with this crime, you might feel daunted. Knowing what it means gives you the power to fight back.
What is mail fraud?
Mail fraud is a federal offense that involves fraudulent use of the postal system. However, it’s more than that. As a white-collar crime, it involves certain elements, namely a scheme to defraud while using the mail system to carry it out. The mail system doesn’t have to be the United States Postal Office; it can involve private mail services such as UPS, FedEx or DHL.
When a person carries out a mail fraud scheme, the mail doesn’t have to cross state lines. It could remain within the state and still be considered a federal crime.
What are common examples of mail fraud?
Mail fraud can be targeted at anyone. Often, the elderly are the intended victims because they aren’t as in-the-know about scams. One of the most common types of mail fraud involves health insurance in the form of Medicare services offered to older individuals. Sweepstakes fraud is also common and is carried out through a letter asking victims for a fee so that they can receive their prize.
Another common example of mail fraud is targeted at unemployed people. A person might receive a letter stating that they are invited to apply for a job and earn a good salary if they first pay a fee.
Sometimes, mail fraud is carried out by ordering products in another person’s name. The individual committing the crime doesn’t even have to use the victim’s financial information. Ordering items in someone else’s name and having them sent to that person still counts.
Mail fraud is serious and can carry hefty penalties. If you have been accused of mail fraud, it’s a good idea to consult a professional who may be able to tell you what your options are.