Mail fraud is a serious crime that refers to any scheme designed to defraud or get money or valuables under false pretenses using the United States Postal Service or any private or commercial interstate mail carrier. This encompasses a variety of different acts which could potentially lead to serious legal repercussions.
If you find yourself charged with this crime in California, understanding the potential consequences can help you get through this challenging situation. Remember, not every case of mail fraud leads to imprisonment, but the possibility exists depending on the specifics of the case.
Penalties under federal law
Mail fraud is a federal crime, which means that cases are often prosecuted under federal law. The federal statute provides for severe penalties, including a fine and imprisonment. If convicted, you could face up to 20 years in prison. However, if the fraud affects a financial institution or connects to a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, the potential prison sentence increases to a maximum of 30 years.
Factors influencing sentencing
The courts consider the nature and circumstances of the offense, including the amount of loss caused by the fraud, the number of victims involved and whether you have any prior convictions. If the court finds that your conduct was particularly egregious, it may impose a harsher sentence.
Consequences beyond imprisonment
A criminal record can affect your ability to secure employment, find housing or get certain professional licenses. Furthermore, if the court orders restitution, you will have to repay the victims for their losses.
Mail fraud charges can result in severe penalties, including the possibility of imprisonment. If you face such charges, it is important to understand the seriousness of the situation and take appropriate steps to respond. Remember that charges do not equate to a conviction and you have the right to defend yourself against these allegations.