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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe crime of mail fraud was first addressed by the federal government in the mid-1800s after evidence surfaced that people were using the U.S. mail system to conduct various scams. The interstate nature of the mail (and eventually wire service) effectively required the matter to be one of federal interest. As a result, in 1872, it became a federal crime for a person to use mail services—and now the internet—to willingly and knowingly deprive another person of their money, property, and/or services.

It is important to keep in mind that in order for an act or scheme to constitute mail or wire fraud, it must intend to defraud another party by means of wire communication or the mail. This means that an advertisement for a legitimate product or service—even one that is deceptive or misleading—is not generally considered fraudulent. The intent of the accused is the key to the case. The suspect must have intended to obtain something for nothing in order for the act to constitute fraud.

State and Federal Charges

In Illinois and some other states, wire and mail fraud are also prosecutable at the state level. If you are charged with both state-level mail fraud and federal mail fraud, your cases will likely be pushed up to federal court. The elements of such cases are similar at both levels.

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