What Constitutes Mail Theft in New Jersey?

In recent years, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has urged residents in New Jersey about the heightened dangers related to the surge in mail theft. While many people believe that mail theft is a minor offense, federal charges apply when crimes involving the USPS are committed. This means those charged with this federal crime could face overwhelming fines and decades of imprisonment. If you have been accused of mail theft, contacting a proficient Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help protect your rights is in your best interest. Please continue reading to learn about the potential penalties for mail theft. 

What is Mail Theft?

Under federal law, mail theft refers to the plotting or devising a “scheme or artifice” that seeks to fraudulently obtain something of value sent through the U.S. Postal Service or other mail carrier service. This includes letters, postal cards, packages, boxes, or anything else sent through the mail system. It’s crucial to note that you can also be charged with this crime if you tamper or destroy mail that does not belong to you. Unfortunately, stolen mail can give criminals unauthorized access to an individual’s confidential information. That said, it can lead to identity theft and eventually destroy a person’s credit scores. At the state and federal levels, this crime carries harsh penalties.

What Are the Potential Penalties in New Jersey?

The theft of mail is considered a federal crime. This crime is classified as a felony offense because it involves someone’s intent to defraud others via the mail system, and the United States Postal Services is a government entity. Therefore, if you’re convicted of mail theft, you can face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. If the violation is associated with a disaster, declared a state of emergency, or adversely affects a bank or similar institution, the penalties for this offense will be enhanced. Under these circumstances, you will face a fine of $1 million and 30 years in prison.

Furthermore, if an organization rather than an individual commits mail fraud, the $250,000 fine will increase to $500,000. If the crime is identity theft, you could be subject to a two-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, a period of supervised release, an order to make restitution payments, forfeiture of other assets, and a potential term of probation for one to five years.

If you or someone you love has been charged with mail theft, please don’t hesitate to contact a skilled Bergen County criminal defense attorney from The Law Offices of Carl Spector, who can fight on your behalf to shield you from the harsh penalties associated with this federal crime.