Does Mail Fraud Still Exist?

Mail fraud not only exists — it is illegal and can be punished under both Illinois statutes and federal law.  Since state statutes mirror the federal laws and have the same elements, both federal and state charges can be brought against anyone accused of mail fraud, and this can lead to the possibility of increased prison time and costs.

Potential penalties are based on the dollar value of the property involved or financial loss due to the fraud. The higher the loss amount, the longer the possible jail time and the higher the possible fines. Since white collar crimes such as mail fraud are subject to mandatory minimum sentencing, which sets a specific amount of time that must be served in federal prison for committing a federal crime, it’s essential to get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to defend against these charges.

The skilled and experienced Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation for clients facing mail fraud or other criminal charges.  We know the courts and the criminal justice system, and how to plea bargain, negotiate guidelines and recognize when to take your case to trial.  We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your individual situation and find the best way to defend your rights and liberty.

What Constitutes Mail Fraud?

Any act of fraud that involves the mail is mail fraud. It usually involves mailing something with the intent of defrauding someone, often to trick them into sending money.  Mail fraud often overlaps with other types of fraud — for example, credit card fraud if credit card applications are stolen from and sent in the mail.

Mail fraud can also involve:

  • Sweepstakes and lottery fraud
  • Telemarketing fraud
  • Financial fraud
  • Employment fraud

You may be charged with mail fraud for the intent of committing a fraudulent scheme by using mail service to send counterfeit items or fraudulent direct mail solicitations, by sending out mail with the intent to defraud, or by taking mail addressed to someone else.

U.S. statutes define mail fraud as any type of scheme involving fraud that intentionally deprives others of property or communications through the mail, and it also includes wire communication and carriers like UPS or FedEx.
In Illinois, mail fraud within the state is covered under Illinois statute (720 ILCS 5/17-24).  The law states that mail fraud is committed by devising or intending to devise any scheme to defraud, or obtain money by fraudulent pretences by using authorized depositories for mail within the state.


Since mail fraud is a federal as well as state crime, penalties can be severe.  Fines can be as high as $1,000,000 in cases involving emergencies, disasters and financial institutions, and prison sentences can be 20 or even 30 years. In Illinois, mail fraud is a Class 3 felony, which can bring additional penalties depending upon the situation.

Federal sentencing is based on a point system. The beginning level of offense is 6 (a 7 if there is a prior conviction), and these numbers carry mandatory minimum sentencing. Other factors that can add points to and influence sentencing include:

  • the amount of money lost by the victims during the fraud
  • the number of victims
  • the type of institutions affected
  • the facts of the crime and the nature of the fraud
  • the offender’s prior arrests and criminal history

Because of the mandatory minimum sentences, it is essential that people accused of mail fraud act quickly when preparing their defense. It may be possible to get sentencing departures if an offender cooperates with an investigation. An experienced attorney can explain how this works and help determine what would be the best option at this time.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

When you are accused of a mail crime you will be facing mandatory minimum sentencing, so you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find.  The Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process to develop an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.

We are aggressive litigators and will work with you to answer all your questions and make sure you fully understand the facts surrounding your case and what you can do to mitigate penalties.  We represent clients in DuPage County, Will County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation and begin preparing a response to any accusations of mail fraud.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]