The use of the U.S. Mail system to promote a crime is a felony. The United States Postal Service is a federal agency, which makes mail fraud a federal offense. Like any federal crime, conviction of mail fraud can result in time spent in a federal prison. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.S. Mail system is used to further a scheme. Considered a white collar crime, fraud is the use of deception to receive personal or financial gain. The involvement of the U.S. Mail system in this deception is what constitutes mail fraud.
Mail fraud constitutes many different crimes; all of these crimes share the quality of intent to deceive. One of the most commonly known kinds of mail fraud is multi-level marketing jobs, also called pyramid schemes. This practice involves selling a good or service while also recruiting other people to work for the company. Commission is earned from sales and also from the sales of recruits; these schemes often involve a fee to join the scheme. In most states, earning a commission from the recruitment of new workers is illegal and what makes a strategy be considered a pyramid scheme.
Another common scam is the phony inheritance scam. This involves someone receiving a letter in the mail informing them of an unclaimed inheritance. This generally comes from the mailer fraudulently posing as an estate locator or a research specialist who is looking for the inheritor of an estate. Many people with the same last name are mailed in hopes of them sending in a fee in order to receive the estate report and then claim their inheritance. Although inheriting money from an unknown distant relative is possible, in an inheritance scam, no relative exists and the claims are fraudulently devised in order to earn money.
When someone is accused of fraud of any kind, the chances are high that he or she has already been fairly extensively investigated by the federal government. In the case of mail fraud, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service does the investigating. If the case of mail fraud violates or possibly violates another agency’s jurisdiction, then that agency can also become involved in the investigation.Read More