18 U.S.C. § 1341 (2005).
Section 1341 is a rather dense and convoluted statute. Under this section, it is a crime
- for a person who has devised or intends to devise any scheme or artifice
- to defraud, or
- the Environmental Protection Agency; see United States v. White, 270 F.3d 356 (6th Cir. 2001);
- to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any
- counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or
- anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article,
- for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice,
- to place in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter,
- any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service, or
- to deposit or cause to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier, or
- to take or receive therefrom, any such matter or thing, or
- to knowingly cause to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or
- at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed,
- any such matter or thing, 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (2005).
In many ways, it is just simpler to realize that mail fraud is primarily devising a scheme or artifice to defraud and then using the nation's mail system to carry that scheme out.
The punishment under section 1341 is
- a fine, imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both.
If the violation affects a financial institution, the punishment is
- a fine of not more than $ 1,000,000, imprisonment for not more than 30 years, or both. 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (2005).