Mail fraud applies to a variety of different crimes. In fact, it is one of the more common charges that businesses and white collar individuals face. Normally, it is fraud that utilizes the postal service to commit deception. When you utilize the mail service or wire, radio or television transmissions, it gives the federal government a reason to target you. The U.S. government describes fraud as obtaining property over false pretenses or to use and distribute counterfeits. 

Intent to defraud 

To face charges of fraud, you must intend to deceive another company or person. If you believed that your actions were honest, then you did not commit fraud. When a person commits fraud, he or she uses false pretenses to deprive someone of money, property or other items of value. These items may be tangible property or it could be information or intellectual property. 

Use of mail to defraud 

Mail is an important factor when it comes to mail fraud. The truth is, however, that mail only has to be a part of the scheme. You could mail any forms that have some involvement with the scheme and it is still mail fraud. It does not matter if you use a private or commercial carrier, if you use interstate mail, you may face a conviction of mail fraud. 

Penalties for mail fraud 

The penalties for mail fraud do vary also. You may face fines or you may face a 20-year prison sentence. In some instances, if the fraud involves financial institutions or emergency funds, then you may face worse penalties. These penalties could result in up to 30 years in prison.