Mail and wire fraud comes into play a great deal in regulatory and tax prosecutions. Any regulatory violation that involved the filing of falsified data with a government agency is almost sure to qualify for prosecution under the mail and wire fraud statutes. This reaches filings with state agencies as well, illustrating the extended reach that the statutes give to federal prosecutors. From antitrust violations to rigged bidding on government contracts, any use of the mails or wires can trigger the statute’s application, touching some activity that is not even prohibited by state or federal law.
The Internal Revenue Code’s criminal provisions do not preempt the mail and wire fraud statutes; however, in response to the large amount of such prosecutions under the fraud statutes, prosecutors are instructed to consult the tax division in determining whether to charge mail or wire fraud in a tax prosecution. Unless an individual has been victimized by the scheme, the tax division commonly advises the prosecution to proceed under the relevant provisions of the Internal Revenue Code rather than pursuing mail or wire fraud charges.