How does mail and wire fraud differ?

October 26, 2020
How does mail and wire fraud differ?

Missouri law handles both mail and wire fraud in a serious way. These two crimes often end up conflated with one another as well. But despite their overt similarities, they have many distinctions and differences. The law handles them as separate crimes.

So what are those differences? How exactly do mail and wire fraud differ in the eyes of the law?

Mail fraud

The Congressional Research Service examines both wire and mail fraud. Under definition, mail fraud involves the use of the United States postal system in a fraudulent plan. Fraud in this case is any plan that aims to part a person from their money, assets or access to honest services.

It also involves the use of any sort of physical mail, whether you send it via the United States Postal Service or a private courier. This is because all mail ends up using the government’s postal system at some point. Thus, it is a federal crime under law. You face felony charges due to this status.

Wire fraud

Wire fraud is similar in basic principle. The major difference is that wire fraud takes place through electronic or digital means rather than physical ones. It involves the use of phone calls, telegrams, texts, emails and other text-based systems.

In addition, you must make communications over state lines for a charge of wire fraud. This differs from mail fraud, in which any use of the U.S. postal system results in a felony. However, both charges can result in hefty penalties. As such, if you face wire or mail fraud charges, you may want to speak with an attorney.


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