Mail and Wire Fraud
Mail and wire fraud are the most common grounds for federal fraud prosecutions. These federal statutes allow fraud prosecutions for any fraud during which the perpetrator use the mail or any method of electronic communication, such as email or electronic messaging. There are many more federal fraud statutes, but these are the most widely encompassing.
While these federal statutes provide for prison terms of up to five years per count, the federal sentencing guidelines provide for fraud sentencing based primarily on the value of the fraudulent transactions and secondarily on other factors such as the number of victims, the organization of the perpetrators and the methods employed.
Usage of the mail or electronic communications mechanisms are considered “interstate,” and thus Congress may prohibit and punish fraud under its power to regulate interstate commerce. Note that fraud may of course also be punished under applicable state law.