North Carolina follows federal rules when it comes to handling mail fraud. This is because mail fraud is a white collar crime that falls under federal jurisdiction. Because of its status as a federal crime, penalties are the same across the board.

It is important to understand what these penalties are if you are facing mail fraud charges. In this way, you can prepare yourself for what to expect.

What is mail fraud?

The Federation of American Scientists gives an overview of both wire and mail fraud. Wire fraud is growing more common in the time of modern technology. It is very similar to mail fraud. The primary difference is that mail fraud involves use of the post system. Wire fraud makes use of electronic and wired communications.

The main goal remains the same, though. Mail fraud is an attempt to use something – mail, in this case – to trick a person into separation from their assets, money or access to honest services. The intention of doing this must be present in order for you to face conviction for mail fraud.

What are the penalties?

If you get convicted, you face a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. As an individual, you may also face a fine of up to $250,000. If acting as part of an organization, then this fine rises to a maximum of $500,000. The penalty worsens if the crime occurred in relation to a natural disaster or by a financial institution. In these cases, you face a fine of up to $1 million, and up to 30 years in prison. If identity theft happened at any point, you must serve a minimum of 2 years.

On top of that, you may also face a probationary period and a period of supervised release. In other words, the penalties for mail fraud are quite steep.