Mail and wire fraud require intent

August 4, 2022
Mail and wire fraud require intent

Whether deceit comes in the form of a letter through the U.S. Postal Service, private interstate carriers or via e-mail, if it travels across Missouri state lines, it is mail fraud and a federal offense. It is imperative that you understand the details and theory of the case against you when facing charges. At the Law Offices of Dee Wampler and Joseph Passanise, we often represent clients unexpectedly facing federal criminal charges.  

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are several elements of mail and wire fraud, including the following.  

  • Devising a scheme specifically to defraud people of money or property 
  • Using mail or email for that purpose  
  • Employing a material deception 


These statutes are expansive. As a result, they overlap a variety of other criminal laws. Often viewed as companion statutes, they include racketeering or money laundering, bribery and kickbacks as well as defrauding federally insured banks and the federal government. Wire fraud may also be a component of a case involving the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. 

As a general rule, the crime occurs when a person or group plans, then carries out by a scheme using mail, email or making a phone call across state borders. The prosecution’s goal includes demonstrating that your communications carried the intent deceive a particular person or persons to obtain money or property. They must show the defendant purposefully misrepresented a situation or concealed a relevant material fact to influence an intended victim.  

Without intent to deceive or causing harm as a result of the deceit, the case may not go to trial. An attorney with experience defending people charged with federal crimes can ensure you have a solid defense. 


For personalized legal guidance, call our office at 417-882-9300 or submit this form to schedule a meeting with an attorney.

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