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Penalties for Mail Fraud in Texas

Posted on February 15, 2024 in

Mail fraud involves any illegal activity or scheme conducted using the United States Postal Service (USPS). Mail fraud may be used to extract information or money from someone using false statements. Mail fraud in Texas is punishable under state and federal law and carries severe penalties if convicted.  It is imperative to contact a Houston fraud attorney if accused of this serious offense.

Types of Mail Fraud

The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) states that mail fraud can originate online, in the mail, or by phone. Types of mail fraud that may result in charges include:

  • Sweepstakes and lottery fraud
  • Telemarketing fraud
  • Financial fraud
  • Employment fraud
  • Fraud against mature adults
  • Fraud against Veterans

Additional penalties may apply when acts of mail fraud harm the elderly or a physically or cognitively challenged individual.

Texas Mail Fraud Penalties

Being convicted of mail fraud in Texas can lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge. Misdemeanor convictions (12.22-12.23) can lead to the following punishments:

  • Class A: Fines up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both
  • Class B: Fines up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both
  • Class C: Fines up to $500

Felony convictions (12.32-12.35) vary according to the degree of the crime. A conviction of felony mail fraud in Texas may lead to the following punishments:

  • Capital Felony: Up to life imprisonment or the death penalty, depending on the offense
  • First Degree: Fines up to $10,000 and up to life in prison
  • Second Degree: Fines up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison
  • Third Degree: Fines up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison
  • State jail felony: Fines up to $10,000 and a jail term of up to two years

Charges for mail fraud are damaging to a career and reputation in Texas. There are defenses to these charges. Providing a solid defense may help reduce the charges or dismiss them when the facts do not support criminal activity.

Proving Texas Mail Fraud

Four elements must be proven to convict someone of mail fraud in Texas:

  • An individual had a plan to victimize or scam others
  • This plan possessed a misrepresentation of the truth to victimize others
  • The individual intended to gain money, honest answers, or property from someone else under pretense
  • A public or private mail service was used to carry out the fraudulent activity

Every act of mail fraud is considered a singular offense. Each offense can lead to a charge and sentence for that particular act, resulting in multiple charges.

Defenses Against Mail Fraud

The defense of an act of mail fraud will depend on the unique situation surrounding it.

  • The actions may not have been committed with the intent to defraud anyone. The act could have been engaged in good faith and misconstrued.
  • The claims were misunderstood as facts instead of inflated opinions.
  • The statute of limitations has been exceeded.

Mail fraud may appear to be a conviction that is easily dismissed or does not have to be taken seriously. However, a conviction of mail fraud in Texas can compromise your future success. A complete evaluation of the charges against you should occur immediately to prevent future damages.

Costly fines, jail time, or imprisonment are realistic punishments to expect. A solid defense from a Houston criminal defense attorney may protect against a conviction or lead to reduced charges.