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Mail Fraud Involves Intent to Deceive

When communication occurs via mail across Florida state lines with the intent of deceit, it becomes mail fraud. One of the most common federal crimes, it does not matter whether a letter arrives via the United States Postal Service, or through the use of a private carrier. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, the mail fraud statutes encompass physical items delivered with the intent of executing a scheme. The article, typically a letter or similar document, can be an essential element of or incidental to the overall ploy. In some cases, the goal of the item may be to lull the intended victim into a false sense of security, postpone complaints or make a transaction less suspect. 

Spamlaws.com reports that the internet has made a variety of deceptions more lucrative and easier to pull off than in the past. They include impersonations, auction scams and mail order product schemes. Any communication that crosses state lines, whether via mail, television or internet, misrepresenting the sender’s identity constitutes fraud under the same and similar statutes. 

A common scam includes letters mimicking those from the U.S. Government or a legitimate business requesting banking information or other personal data. These cons often lead to identity theft. 

Internet auctions may qualify as mail fraud if the communication involves the use of email. A person or persons initiate the fraud by contacting a victim and requesting money for non-existing products. 

Mail order product schemes frequently include the promotion of luxury items on a website. A person intent on misrepresentation uses images of the actual high-quality product and charges the victim’s credit card for that item. They may ship a lower quality item sold at a higher price or not ship anything at all. 

An individual who sends an item with the intent to deceive another and obtain money, information, or goods illegally is guilty of fraud. When investigated, Postal Inspectors often file hundreds or thousands of charges against a single person or group. If convicted, a person may serve up to 20 years in prison per charge, equating to a life sentence. 

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