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Criminal Resource Manual

951. Proof of Mailings and Transmissions

The mailing or wire communication may be proven by circumstantial evidence. See, e.g., United States v. Griffith, 17 F.3d 865, 874 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 149 (1994); United States v. Bowman, 783 F.2d 1192, 1197 (5th Cir. 1986) (mailings performed in the course of the bank's customary practices) (citing United States v. Ledesma, 632 F.2d 670, 675 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 998 (1980)); United States v. Brooks, 748 F.2d 1199, 1202-03 (7th Cir. 1984) (introduction of envelope). But see United States v. Hannigan, 27 F.3d 890, 895 (3d Cir. 1994) (defendant's statement that he received check was insufficient to prove check was sent through the mails).

"To constitute a violation of [§ 1341] . . ., it is not necessary to show that [defendants] actually mailed . . . anything themselves; it is sufficient if they caused it to be done. Pereira v. United States, 347 U.S. 1, 8 (1954) (citing 18 U.S.C. (Supp. V) § 2(b)); United States v. Kenofskey, 243 U.S. 440, 443 (1917) ("Cause" is used "in its well-known sense of bringing about . . . ."); accord United States v. Diggs, 613 F.2d 988, 998 (D.C. Cir.) ("One must 'cause' the mails to be used" to satisfy the element of "use of the United States mails 'for the purpose of executing the scheme.'") (quoting United States v. Maze, 414 U.S. 395, 400 (1974) (quoting Kann v. United States, 323 U.S. 88, 94 (1944), cert. denied, 446 U.S. 982 (1980). The government need show only that the defendant "caused" the mailing by acting "with knowledge that the use of the mails follow in the ordinary course of business, or where such use can reasonably be foreseen, even though not actually intended." Pereira, 347 U.S. at 8-9.

"'[I]nnocent' mailings - ones that contain no false information - may supply the mailing element." United States v. Schmuck, 489 U.S. 705, 715 (1989) (citing Parr v. United States, 363 U.S. 370, 390 (1960)). Moreover, the elements of mail fraud may be satisfied where the mailings have been routine. Mailings that may lead to the uncovering of the fraudulent scheme may also supply the mailing element of the mail fraud offense. Id. ("The relevant question at all times is whether the mailing is part of the execution of the scheme as conceived by the perpetrator at the time, regardless of whether the mailing later, through hindsight, may prove to have been counterproductive and return to haunt the perpetrator of the fraud.").

[cited in USAM 9-43.100]