In California, the penalties for federal crimes and felonies are often harsh. This goes for anyone facing a conviction, even if it is your first-time offense. The crime itself can change the sort of penalty you face, but it will almost always have severe consequences.
This is also true for mail fraud, which the law categorizes as a federal crime.
Why is mail fraud a federal crime?
The Congressional Research Service discusses penalties for mail fraud. As mentioned, mail fraud is a federal crime. This is because it makes use of the United States postal system. Even if you send things via private mail couriers, they still use the federal postal system. Mail fraud can also involve any sort of item sent via the mail, including everything from boxes to post cards.
Penalties associated with mail fraud
Because it is a felony, you can face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of related charges. You may also face up to $250,000 in fines. This rises to $500,000 for organizations. If you target a financial institution or take advantage of a natural disaster for fraud, the penalty grows even harsher. You can face up to 30 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million.
Use of identity theft in a mail fraud scheme comes with a mandatory penalty, too. You face a minimum of 2 years imprisonment for this conviction. On top of that, you may face a period of supervised release or probation after your jail sentence.
Not to mention, you will carry a felony conviction on your record. This alone can have a massive impact on your life, making it harder to find work or housing.