The Boundaries of a Seemingly Limitless Mail Fraud Statute

February 5, 2013  |  New York Law Journal

The federal mail fraud statute is a broad catch-all criminal law that has been called the prosecutor's 'secret weapon.' It, however, is not without limits. This article discuss the history and jurisprudence of the mail fraud statute, and, in particular, a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit authored by none other than SDNY Judge Jed Rakoff, sitting by designation. In that case, United States v. Phillips, Judge Rakoff, who published a scholarly article on mail fraud before taking the bench, examined the requirement that the mailing be 'for the purpose of executing' the fraudulent scheme.

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