Your basic federal mail fraud statute is 18 U.S.C. § 1341. That statute prohibits use of the mail for the purpose of obtaining money or property by false pretenses. Mail fraud includes, of course, depositing an item in the mail. But it also includes receiving an item in the mail when the receiver is involved in this fraudulent scheme.
Conviction under “ordinary” federal mail fraud exposes an individual to imprisonment for up to twenty years. In some special instances, prison exposure for federal mail fraud can be as much as thirty years. The person convicted of “ordinary” federal mail fraud is exposed to a fine of up to $250,000.00. Those special instances of federal mail fraud increase the monetary fine exposure to $1,000,000.00.
The wording of the federal mail fraud statute itself is incredibly convoluted. (Why can't the morons who wrote it learn to write the same as normal people?) Here it is:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article, for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do, places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter, any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
Note that “federal mail fraud” is not limited to use of United States Postal Service facilities. Mail fraud can be committed with use of non-postal facilities like UPS, FedEx, and your other interstate or international carriers.
Law Offices of Allan Marain Counsellors at Law have been representing persons charged with New Jersey and federal crimes for a combined total that exceeds seventy years. Mr. Marain is licensed to practice before the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. And Allan Marain is licensed to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third and Federal Circuits, as well as the United State Supreme Court. He regularly gives presentations to New Jersey lawyers on specialized areas of practice throughout NJ. Both would welcome your inquiry on federal mail fraud charges filed or threatened against you.