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Mail Fraud

Lynnwood, WA |

Is mail fraud a civil or criminal statute? Can a buyer sue a seller from another state in federal district court for mail fraud? If yes, can the suit be brought in the federal district court located in the buyer's home state or must it be in the seller's home state?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. The Federal Trade Commission governs Mail Order merchanise rule, which states that companies that sell by mail or phone must ship the order within 30 days (Unless the company clearly states a longer period of delivery) of the time they receive the order. If order can't be shipped, they must contact you in writing, and must refund your money within seven days of your refund request. See link below-


  2. Mail Fraud is a criminal issue. Consumer issues are sometimes a type of mail fraud but


  3. Mail Fraud is a criminal issue. Consumer issues are sometimes a type of mail fraud but while you can sue for consumer fraud, Mail fraud is usually a prosecuted event. One of the punishments for mailf fraud is the return of money to the defrauded party.

    If you decide to sue, you must have diverisity of jurisdiction and a dollar value sufficient to warrant a federal case. That is a heavy burden for an individual consumer. You might want to see if the issue with your seller is systemic and if others have also been mistreated in which case you could sustain a class action suit.

    The best thing is to seek a lawyer who handles federal commercial suits and see if you can get a free consultation. Otherwise speak to the consumer affairs people at your state Attorney generals office. Good luck


  4. Mail fraud is primarily a federal criminal statute. See 18 U.S.C. § 1341. Mail fraud, however, is very useful as one of many predicate violations that can be charged as constituting a pattern of racketeering under another federal law, RICO (Racketeering in Corrupt Organizations), codified at 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq., which authorizes civil remedies in addition to criminal ones. RICO has been overused by plaintiffs' counsel, and federal courts will carefully scrutinize its use to ensure that the allegations meet the exacting pleading and proof requirements.