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Are mail and wire fraud the same thing?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2020 | Firm News |

In Mississippi, mail fraud and wire fraud charges are not the same thing. Each comes with its own penalties. The state law defines each in a unique way. 

But do you know what those differences are? Do you know what separates mail from wire fraud? Do you know how the court handles each crime and what the respective penalties are? Today we will answer these questions. 

What is mail fraud? 

First, we will take a look at the definition of fraud itself. Defrauding someone is the act of scamming them out of some type of asset. In most cases, this is going to be money or property. There are many schemes used to defraud people. Most involve omissions or misstatements. Through these things, a victim loses honest services, property or money. 

Cornell Law School defines mail fraud. This is the use of mailing systems to commit fraud. It covers packages, letters, postcards and more. It also includes both the United States Postal Service and private mail carriers. 

How does wire fraud compare? 

Wire fraud involves a similar principle. But instead of using mail to commit the fraud, you use electronic communication. This includes email, text, fax, chat room messages, phone calls and more. 

A primary difference is what constitutes mail and wire fraud. Anything sent through the mail with the intention to defraud is mail fraud. But for an act to fall under the definition of wire fraud, it must cross state lines. In other words, you have to make a call to a neighboring state, send an email to someone out of state, and so on. 

The penalties for these charges are different, too. This is important to keep in mind when facing them in court.