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How do wire and mail fraud differ?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2023 | Financial Fraud |

Fraud comes with hefty penalties no matter what form it comes in. Two of the most common and categorically related types of fraud include wire and mail fraud.

However, these two types have many things that differentiate them, too.

The basis of fraud

The United States Department of Justice takes a look at the differences between mail and wire fraud. The overall goal of both types of fraud generally remains the same. As with any fraudulent scheme, the goal often serves to part an individual from their money, assets, or access to honest services or goods.

The main difference between the two is the way that a person carries the fraudulent scheme out. When it comes to mail fraud, the scheme will involve the use of the United States Postal Service. A person may send out letters, magazines, packages, leaflets or pamphlets and more. As long as it passes through the mail system, it counts as mail fraud.

On the other hand, wire fraud leans on the use of “wires”, i.e. electronic communication. This includes faxes, emails, text messages, phone calls, message board posts and more.

Penalties for fraud

The penalties for these types of fraudulent schemes vary depending on several factors, such as the intended target of the crime or the circumstances behind the fraud. For example, a person who commits mail fraud could normally expect to face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

However, someone who attempts to commit fraud by using a natural disaster could face up to 30 years in prison or a fine of $1 million.