In Virginia, the charges for mail fraud and wire fraud are different. This means you may face different penalties if convicted of either. But do you know what the differences are? Many people do not.

Today we will look at mail and wire fraud. We will discuss the differences between the two. We will also examine how the law handles each one.

What is mail fraud?

Cornell Law School defines what mail fraud in the U.S. entails. Mail fraud is the act of defrauding someone and using mail to do it. This can include packages, letters, postcards and more. It can also include both the United States Postal Service and private mail carriers. When someone commits fraud, they often defraud another person of property or money. In using mail to help them achieve this, they commit mail fraud.

What is wire fraud?

Wire fraud deals with electronic communication rather than physical mail. It may involve emails, text messages and faxes. Any form of virtual communication can count. This even includes chat room conversations. The perpetrator must be using these methods of communication to defraud someone.

What is the difference between the two? First, you commit mail fraud by using any mailing systems at all. This means mail from city to city in the same state also counts. The law does not look at wire fraud the same way. For wire fraud, you must cross state lines with the communication.

Penalties also differ based on state and severity of fraud. But both may result in heavy fines and time in jail. The courts take these crimes seriously and so should you.