Mail fraud is prosecuted as a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341. The federal government would have to prove at trial—beyond a reasonable doubt—each of the below elements of the crime under that statute.
First, the defendant knowingly participated in, devised, or intended to devise, a scheme or plan to defraud, or a scheme or plan for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.
Second, the statements made or facts omitted as part of the scheme were material; that is, they had a natural tendency to influence, or were capable of influencing, a person to part with money or property.
Third, the defendant acted with the intent to defraud; that is, the intent to deceive and cheat.
Fourth, the defendant used, or caused to be used, the mails to carry out or attempt to carry out an essential part of the scheme.
The maximum sentence that the Court can impose for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (mail fraud) is 20 years of incarceration, a fine of $250,000, a 3-year period of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100. If the defendant violates a condition of supervised release at any time during the term of supervised release, the Court may also revoke the term of supervised release and require the defendant to serve up to two additional years of imprisonment.