Fraud comes in many forms, from medical to mail fraud. Fraud itself is a broadened term that refers to a fraudulent act. When a person commits fraud, he or she has deceived a victim in order to gain an asset of some form, whether monetary or not.
What kinds of fraud are there?
Several kinds of fraud exist including bankruptcy, tax, insurance, credit card, telemarketing, wire and mail. Identity theft is another type of fraud, as well as securities fraud. The differences between these are that, in most cases, each is committed in a different way. A credit card fraud case, for instance, would involve a person who took another person's credit card and ran up the balance. In comparison, identity theft fraud cases center around a person who takes on another person's identity, opening bank accounts or credit accounts and pretending to be that person.
What should you know if you're accused of mail fraud?
All types of fraud can be tried as felonies, so you should be aware that you could be penalized by time in prison, probation or high fines. The penalties you face will depend on two factors. One is the nature of the crime you committed. The second is the defense that you use against the charges.
Your defense may start with a claim that you aren't guilty; if this is the case, then you'll want to show why you couldn't be the person who committed the crime or why you didn't know the crime was taking place. For fraud to take place, you must have willingly and knowingly committed the crime, which is something that can work in your favor. In the case of mail fraud, for example, it would have to be shown that you intended to defraud someone through the mail or that you intercepted mail intended for someone else purposefully to defraud them.
Source: FindLaw, "Fraud," accessed Sep. 15, 2016