Sindel Noble

Providing Legal Help When You Need It Most

Mail fraud and bank fraud: old terms apply in new electronic era

Mail fraud and wire fraud are two of the crimes that are often included under the umbrella term "white-collar crime."

A current St. Louis area case involves both of these charges. Authorities have charged two owners of an insurance company with mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud senior citizens.

The charges accuse the two men of soliciting elderly people to invest in several different types of financial instruments, including stocks and annuities from life insurance policies, as well as real estate. In practice, however, the men allegedly used the funds for their own purposes and operated a Pyramid scheme.

The amount of money involved was about $3 million, authorities say. One of the men facing charges is from St. Louis County. The other is from Kansas City.

Both mail fraud and wire fraud have been federal crimes since the late 19th century. Back then, of course, communications options were much more limited than in today's free-wheeling digital arena. Mail meant the U.S. mail; it certainly did not mean e-mail.

And the "wire" in wire fraud originally referred to telegraph wires. Many people who take today's wireless communications for granted probably do not even stop to recognize the origins of the term.

And yet, even as communications options have grown, mail fraud and wire fraud remain staples of many white-collar prosecutions. In practice, "wire fraud," for all its historical links to the telegraph, is now a short-hand term that includes electronic communications of many types.

In the case of the two insurance company owners, it remains to be seen what evidence prosecutors will present to try to prove the mail and wire fraud charges.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Pair at St. Louis insurance company indicted for diverting customer funds," Paul Hampel, August 21, 2013

    • Richard H.Sindel | Best Lawyers In America | Best Lawyers - 2016
    • Richard H. Sindel | America's Most Honored Professionals | 2015
    • Top Attorneys in Missouri & Kansas | 2014 | Richard H. Sindel
    • Top Attorneys in Missouri & Kansas | 2013 | Richard H. Sindel
    • Super Lawyers
    • AV Peer Review Rated. Highest Rating For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability
    • Richard H. Sindel | Best Lawyers | Lawyer of the year | 2011 | Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar St.Louis
    • MATA - Helping To Balance The Scales Of Justice
    • Member of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Member of the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers
    • The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
    • U.S.News| Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms | 2010
    • Charles M. Shaw Award
    • Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
    • The Missouri Bar
    • Top Listed in Best Lawyers | The world's premier Guide
Email Us For A Response

How Can We Help?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy