According to Sec 1341, Chapter 63, Part 1, Title 18 of the United States Code, mail fraud is committed by:

“Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.”

In essence, the above law covers mail fraud, postal fraud and mail theft. All these are prosecuted as felonies and are covered by federal laws. Being federal laws, the penalties for them are quite severe, from payment of monetary fines to service of prison terms for a number of years. Also depending upon the factual circumstances and the nature of the crime, together with the criminal history of the accused, the imposable penalties may become harsher than what was originally stipulated.

The following are the elements of the crime of mail fraud:

• The accused knowingly invented a fraudulent scheme;
• The accused had the intention of perpetrating fraud using that scheme;
• The accused had mailed or had another individual mail something for the purpose of defrauding others;
• The materials mailed were false and whose purpose was to defraud others;

The crime of mail fraud is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.