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Why the Difference Between Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud Matters in Texas

June 27, 2017 By Jeff King

Over the past century, communication methods have evolved rapidly. Mail fraud and wire fraud statutes reflect this evolution. A charge or conviction of either of these in Texas should be taken seriously because they can lead to severe punishments under state and federal laws. Dallas fraud defense attorney Jeff King represents individuals facing mail fraud and wire fraud charges and understands how important it is to fight these charges vigorously.


Mail fraud v. wire fraud


Mail fraud, unsurprisingly, requires use of the U.S. postal service to commit fraud. Wire fraud, on the other hand, involves wire-based communications including telephone, fax, television, text message, and internet.


Mail fraud and wire fraud are each specifically defined as crimes under federal statute. The definition of mail fraud is a bit simpler – in a nutshell, it is devising or carrying out a scheme to commit fraudulent acts using the mail. Wire fraud sounds more complicated – it requires an intentional scheme to defraud another out of money, with a reasonable expectation that interstate wire communications would be used and in the end are in fact used. However, federal courts have made clear that the wire fraud statute is a parallel to the mail fraud statute and the only difference is the type of communication used.


Are mail fraud and wire fraud federal or state crimes in Texas?


Under Texas statute, a variety of actions – from forgery to criminal simulation to credit card money laundering – can constitute criminal fraud. Simply put, just about any false or misleading statement or action to obtain something can potentially lead to some type of state fraud charge. If someone uses the mail or wire communication in carrying out these kinds of activities, it is possible to be charged under federal or state laws.


There are couple of things to keep in mind about mail and wire fraud charges. First, the penalties are steep. Less severe cases can lead to fines up to $250,000 and five years in prison, while “aggravated” cases like those affecting financial institutions can bring fines up to $1,000,000 and up to 30 years in prison. Second, the statutes are broadly worded. This gives the authorities the wiggle room to tack them on to all sorts of alleged crimes to raise the stakes for defendants. Texas is notoriously harsh when it comes to punishing crimes, so adding a broadly-worded offense with a hefty life-altering penalty impacts the course a defense should take.


Mail and wire fraud defense in Dallas, TX


Jeff King puts his years of experience to use defending clients against both state and federal charges and ensuring they put their best case forward. The key to successfully defending mail and wire fraud claims is aligning with a knowledgeable professional. Call Jeff King in Dallas for a confidential free initial consultation.


Additional fraud defense resources:


  1. Texas Penal Code, Title 7 Offenses Against Property Chapter 32 Fraud Subchapter A General Provisions,
  2. S. Department of Justice, 940.18 U.S.C. Section 1341 – Elements of Mail Fraud,
  3. S. Department of Justice, 941.18 U.S.C. 1343 – Elements of Wire Fraud,
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