Wire and Mail Fraud Law


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Wire and Mail Fraud include any schemes to fraudulently and intentionally deprive someone of their property or services via either mail or wire communications.

The three main elements of mail and wire fraud are:

1. Intent;

2. A "scheme or artifice to defraud," or otherwise obtaining property by fraud; and,

3. Use of the mail or a wire communication to facilitate the fraudulent act.

There are many types of mail fraud schemes, like employment fraud, financial fraud, fraud against older Americans, sweepstakes and lottery fraud, and telemarketing fraud. Many wire and mail fraud cases are prosecuted under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Penalties for Mail and Wire Fraud can be quite severe, and include fines, imprisonment of up to 20 or 30 years, or both. If RICO is invoked, any property used by the defendants in the commission of the wire or mail fraud may also be seized by the government, including computers, vehicles, houses, etc.

The resources below will provide you with additional information regarding Wire and Mail Fraud, and you may click on the “Law Firms” tab, above, to find lists of attorneys who may be able to answer your specific questions or provide you with assistance if you anticipate a legal action.

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  • Defining the Different Fraud Crimes
    Fraud is one of the more serious criminal offenses that a person can be charged with. Though it is not serious due to a physical act of violence, in most cases, it is a serious offense in the sense that it can cause great financial turmoil for a victim of fraud and potentially put a victim or group of people in danger.
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Wire Fraud Law - US

  • Crimes of Persuasion: Schemes, Scams, Frauds

    Our Mission: To inform the public, along with law enforcement personnel, justice officials and victim support groups on the workings and scope of telemarketing and investment fraud so that efforts can effectively be taken to minimize the impact on its victims and ensure that adequate penalties are in place to deter the perpetrators.

  • DOJ - Fraud Section

    The Fraud Section plays a unique and essential role in the Department's fight against sophisticated economic crime. The Section is a front-line litigating unit that acts as a rapid response team, investigating and prosecuting complex white collar crime cases throughout the country. The Section is uniquely qualified to act in that capacity, based on its vast experience with sophisticated fraud schemes; its expertise in managing complex and multi-district litigation; and its ability to deploy resources effectively to address law enforcement priorities and respond to geographically shifting crime problems.

  • FDIC - Risk Management Manual of Examination Policies - Wire Fraud

    The early detection of apparent fraud and insider abuse is an essential element in limiting the risk to the FDIC's deposit insurance funds and uninsured depositors. Although it is not possible to detect all instances of apparent fraud and insider abuse, potential problems can often be uncovered when certain warning signs are evident. It is essential for examiners to be alert for irregular or unusual activity and to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the activity. Examiners should not restrict concern to internal crimes, but should also be alert to any attempts by outsiders to defraud financial institutions.

  • Prosecution Policy Relating to Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud

    Prosecutions of fraud ordinarily should not be undertaken if the scheme employed consists of some isolated transactions between individuals, involving minor loss to the victims, in which case the parties should be left to settle their differences by civil or criminal litigation in the state courts. Serious consideration, however, should be given to the prosecution of any scheme which in its nature is directed to defrauding a class of persons, or the general public, with a substantial pattern of conduct.

  • United States Postal Inspection Service - Mail Fraud

    U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.S. Mail is used to further a scheme--whether it originated in the mail, by telephone, or on the Internet. The use of the U.S. Mail is what makes it mail fraud.

  • United States Postal Inspection Services - Mail Fraud Schemes

    Presents an overview of the various and numerous types of mail fraud.

  • US Code, Chapter 63, 1343 - Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television

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  • US Department of Justice - FBI - Financial Crimes

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates matters relating to fraud, theft, or embezzlement occurring within or against the national and international financial community. These crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust, and are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Such acts are committed by individuals and organizations to obtain personal or business advantage. The FBI focuses its financial crimes investigations on such criminal activities as corporate fraud, securities and commodities fraud, health care fraud, financial institution fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, mass marketing fraud, and money laundering. These are the identified priority crime problem areas of the Financial Crimes Section (FCS) of the FBI.

  • Wire Fraud - Wikipedia

    Wire fraud, in the United States Code, is any criminally fraudulent activity that has been determined to have involved electronic communications of any kind, at any phase of the event. The involvement of electronic communications adds to the severity of the penalty, so that it is greater than the penalty for fraud that is otherwise identical except for the non-involvement of electronic communications. As in the case of mail fraud, the federal statute is often used as a basis for a separate, federal prosecution of what would otherwise have been a violation only of a state law.

Telemarketing and Mass-Marketing Fraud Information

  • Canada-United States Working Group on Telemarketing Fraud

    Report of the Canada - United States Working Group on Telemarketing Fraud.

  • FTC - Telemarketing and Telephone Services

    Overview by the Federal Trade Commission of telemarketing and mass marketing scams.

  • Help for Victims of Telemarketing Fraud

    While there are many legitimate companies that use the telephone for marketing, consumers and business lose millions of dollars to telemarketing fraud each year. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between reputable telemarketers and criminals who use the phone to rob people. You can protect yourself by learning how to recognize the danger signs of fraud. If you are a victim or attempted victim of telemarketing fraud, it's important to report the scam quickly so that law enforcement agencies can shut the fraudulent operation down.

  • National Do Not Call Registry

    The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this Website. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.

  • Telemarketing Fraud Prevention Act of 1998

    The Telemarketing Fraud Prevention Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-184, 112 Stat. 520-522) amends the Federal Criminal Code (Code) to require the court, in sentencing a defendant for specified offenses of fraud involving telemarketing, or conspiracies to commit such offenses, to order that the defendant forfeit to the United States any real or personal property: (1) used or intended to be used in the commission of such offense; and (2) constituting, derived from, or traceable to the gross proceeds of the offense.

  • USDOJ - Mass-Marketing Fraud FAQs

    The term "mass-marketing fraud" refers generally to any type of fraud scheme that uses one or more mass-communication techniques and technologies – such as the Internet, telephones, the mail, and even mass meetings in person -- to present fraudulent solicitations to numbers of prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions with victims, or to transmit the proceeds of the fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme.

Organizations Related to Wire Fraud Law

  • Bustathief - Wire Fraud – Wire Scam

    Wire fraud is defined as attempting to defraud using electronic means, such as a computer or telephone. What must be proved is that the person knowingly and willfully devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud. Since the advent of the internet, there are literally thousands of crimes that fall under the definition of wire fraud. Here we’re going to take a look at some of the more common forms of wire fraud, why they occur, and how you can protect yourself.

  • Characteristics of Telemarketing Fraud Schemes

    Each year, fraudulent telemarketers make billions of dollars by scamming innocent people into buying poor quality products or items which they will only use once. They use convincing sales pitches, make false promises of free prizes, vacations and gifts and get richer by pocketing hundreds of dollars from naïve and trusting customers. Most of the time, these buyers are often the elderly who maybe more friendly and polite towards these cunning con artists. They may fall for their sly ways and their lies and may end up buying more products than what they need and what their budget allows.

  • Fraud Aid - Fraud Victim Advocacy

    Our mission is to provide support and guidance for fraud victims and their families worldwide; to serve as a deterrent to fraud everywhere; to spread easy-to-understand fraud awareness, recognition, and prevention education throughout the world community; and to develop efficient tools and support systems for public and private investigators, fraud examiners, fraud attorneys and defense attorneys.

  • IBLS - Internet Advertising is Mass-Marketing for Purposes of Sentence Enhancement in Wire Fraud Cases

    Consumers are becoming constant victims of Internet fraud; for this reason, they must get educated on the type of crime these actions typify and the enforcement authorities to whom consumers may resort. There are many types of Internet fraud, but the most commonly used is the offering of goods or services by misrepresentation or false pretenses, i.e., Internet users buy computers or online tickets that never arrive. These deceptive Internet sales may typify a federal crime commonly known as wire fraud. According to a novel decision by the United States Courts of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, a wire fraud sentence can be enhanced when the fraud is committed through Internet advertising that will be considered mass-marketing under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual.

  • National Consumer's League (NCL) - Fraud Section

    Our mission is to give consumers the information they need to avoid becoming victims of telemarketing and Internet fraud and to help them get their complaints to law enforcement agencies quickly and easily.

Publications Related to Wire Fraud Law

  • Chase Commercial Banking - Fraud Prevention Advice

    Fraud is one of the largest threats facing businesses today. Criminals are finding new ways to alter or create financial documents in such a way that deceives innocent victims. Fraud that is perpetrated against a client’s account typically occurs through check, ACH or wire fraud. At Chase, we take fraud very seriously. The best way to protect your business against fraud is to have a plan in place before the problem occurs.

  • FBI - National Wire Fraud News

    National news, press releases and articles related to wire fraud presented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  • FTC - Wire Fraud - Phone Call Scams

    Various publications, articles and information on wire fraud, mail fraud, phone scams, etc... presented by the Federad Trade Commission.


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