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Mail fraud is a crime that uses the United States Postal Service to carry out any scheme which seeks to unlawfully acquire money or property.

Mail Fraud is codified pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 1341:

“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 there from, 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 occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.”

Courts have generally held that three elements must be proven to convict a defendant of mail fraud.

  • Participation by the defendant in a scheme to defraud.

  • The mail was used in furtherance of the scheme.

  • The defendant who participated in the scheme used or caused the use of the mail.


A person conviction for mail fraud faces a sentence of up to 20 year in a federal prison and a fine. If the scheme affects the solvency of a financial institution, a conviction can result in a 30 year prison sentence and a $1,000,000 fine.

For a free consultation to see how David J. Sobel can defend you, contact Mr. Sobel at 954-383-3000.  You will be able to speak directly with Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer David J. Sobel 24/7.

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