South Carolina has laws handling mail and wire fraud. Some people believe that these are the same crimes. Some even think they have the same penalties. But they are actually very different. The law treats them as such.

The courts treat mail fraud in a much more severe way, though. It is important to understand why and how mail fraud differs from wire fraud because of this.

What defines mail fraud?

Cornell Law School discusses the charge of mail fraud and its related penalties. Mail fraud is an act in which you defraud someone. Defrauding someone causes them to lose assets, money or honest services. Mail fraud is a tool used in fraud schemes to reach this end goal. With mail fraud, you use the postal system to deliver materials that help you defraud someone. You may send these materials in many forms. Postcards, letters, and boxes all count.

The law also considers anything fraudulent sent via mail as mail fraud. This is true no matter what service you use to send the mail. It applies to the United States Postal Service and any private mailing services. It also applies no matter how far you send the fraudulent mail.

Why is it a felony?

Due to the use of the postal system, the law classifies mail fraud as a felony. This means it packs some hefty penalties. First, there are fines of up to $250,000 with individuals involved. You may face a jail sentence of up to 5 years, too. If it involves financial institutions, the fines skyrocket to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in prison. In other words, it is a serious crime with serious penalties.