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Understanding federal mail fraud charges in Pennsylvania

Sometimes, something as simple as sending a letter may result in criminal charges for you and others, in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. Being charged with the federal crime of mail fraud may have serious consequences, with lasting implications. People often ask us at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., we are often asked about mail fraud charges. Therefore, in this post we will discuss what constitutes this offense under federal law, as well as the potential penalties you could face if convicted.

Federal law makes it illegal to use mail or wire communications in the commission of schemes that are aimed at swindling people out of property, money or services. For example, it may be considered mail fraud if you send a letter to others offering them a fake work-from-home opportunity if they first send you a specified amount of money. Under federal law, in order to constitute this type of white collar crime, it must be shown that you devised, or intended to devise, a scheme to defraud. Furthermore, there must be proof that you used the mail in order to execute, or attempt to execute, the alleged scheme.

Depending on the circumstances, you could face serious penalties if convicted of wire fraud. You could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison. In cases when a financial institution is affected by the alleged offense, you could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. Additionally, you may be fined up to $250,000. You may also have any property you obtained as a result of the alleged mail fraud confiscated, as well as be ordered to pay restitution.

For more information about mail fraud, please visit our white collar crimes page.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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