In Michigan, fraudulent schemes often land a convicted person with hefty penalties. Any sort of fraud can result in steep fines and time in jail. For this reason alone, it is easy to tell that mail and wire fraud also result in harsh penalties.

But how do these two crimes differ? How do the penalties differ? The charges are not interchangeable, so what separates the two?

The purpose of defrauding

The Federation of American Scientists discusses both mail and wire fraud. They are both acts that aid in defrauding someone. This means they separate a person from their assets, money, or right to honest services. Many tactics aim to defraud innocent people. Mail and wire fraud are just two types.

Wire versus mail fraud

Wire fraud refers to the use of electronic communication to aid in a fraud scheme. In other words, you use phones, faxes, email, chat clients and more. Through these avenues of communication, you further your fraudulent schemes.

Mail fraud has the same overall goal. But instead of using electronic communication, you use the mailing system. This includes both the United States Postal Service and any private mailing services. It also encompasses anything sent through the mail. Postcards, packages, parcels, letters and more count toward mail fraud.

The law classifies acts of mail fraud as a felony. This is because of the involvement of a federal system, i.e. the postal system. Due to this, you can face decades in jail. The fines also range upward of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is often much more devastating than you expect. It is not worth the penalty.