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Mail Wire Fraud

Congress enacted the mail fraud statute to protect the United States Postal Service, and the wire fraud statute to protect wires, particularly radio and television.

Today, the mail fraud statute has been expanded to include any private or commercial carrier, such as Federal Express (FedEx) or the United Parcel Service (UPS), and the wire fraud statute has been expanded to include facsimile, telephone, modem and Internet transmissions.

In order to be convicted of a mail or wire fraud offense, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was involved in a scheme to defraud that includes a material deception with the intent to defraud, while using the mails, private commercial carriers and/or wires in furtherance of that scheme, that did or would have resulted in the loss of money or property or the deprivation of honest services.

Each use of either the mail or wires can be a separate offense, and mail and wire fraud charges often are coupled with other offenses or more specific fraud offenses, such as insider trading, bank fraud, consumer fraud, and insurance fraud.