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How do wire and mail fraud differ?

In Wisconsin, mail fraud and wire fraud are among the most common white collar crimes. They are a form of fraud, meaning money or property is one’s main target. But what differentiates mail from wire fraud? Is there a significant difference between the two?

Today we will look at the answer to this question. We will see exactly what sets wire and mail fraud apart.

Mail fraud

Cornell Law School defines mail fraud as a crime where you use mail to further defraud someone. In most cases, the intent is to defraud them of money and property. Mail fraud indicates any use of mailing systems to aid in fraud. This includes the United States Postal Service. It also includes independent delivery services. Any type of mail used in fraud counts toward this charge. This includes packages, postcards, letters and more.

Wire fraud

By comparison, wire fraud encompasses more means of communication. Wire fraud refers to anything used via wire methods to aid in committing fraud. This may include emails, chat room messages, phone calls, faxes and so on.

Another difference between the two is the scope of each charge. With mail fraud, any use of mailing systems results in mail fraud charges. What about for wire fraud? A crime only falls under this category if the message crosses state lines. In other words, let us say you email someone in the same state with the intent to defraud another person. This crime is not categorized as wire fraud.

These distinctions are important to know. They affect how the court will look at a crime. Each charge also has different penalties. As always, it is important to understand what you are up against.

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