What Is the Penalty for Stealing Mail?


Quick Answer

A person convicted of mail theft faces a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years in federal prison. Stealing mail is a felony offense in the United States.

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What Is the Penalty for Stealing Mail?
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Full Answer

Under U.S. Code Section 1708, "mail theft" has a very broad definition. It includes stealing, obtaining by deception, secreting and destroying any letter or package or attempting to do so. The letter or package is considered mail when it is left for collection by the U.S. Postal Service, whether it is in a mailbox or in a bag or container adjacent to a collection box or authorized collection point. Depending on how the mail is stolen, what information is acquired and how it is used, other charges, such as damaging a mailbox, assault, breaking and entering and identity, theft may be levied.

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