Criminal Defense Attorney

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is a particularly serious charge that occurs when an individual uses the internet or any type of wire transmission to defraud another individual. Individuals who are charged with wire fraud must understand that this offense carries serious potential negative consequences and that the assistance of skilled legal representation is often essential in handling such a case.

Applicable Federal Law

The federal law concerning wire fraud was passed in 1952 as part of the Communications Act Amendment. This law prohibits any type of activity that is intended to defraud by the use of wire, radio, or television communications through either interstate or foreign commerce.

In order to convict an individual of wire fraud, federal prosecution must establish several elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • A Plan. An individual must have had a plan to obtain something of value by the use of fraudulent pretenses.
  • Intent. The individual must have intended to perform this plan to defraud.
  • False Representations. The individual must have made materially false representations. 
  • Transmission. A transmission must have been made using, wire, radio, or television communication in either interstate or foreign commerce. The use of the internet, a telephone, or wireless communication to advance a fraudulent scheme can provide the federal government with the basis of a fraudulent scheme. There is no requirement that this communication was central to the plan in question. Simply mentioning a fraudulent plan to another individual in a way that could be considered a transmission could provide the federal government with sufficient basis for such a charge.

Potential Consequences

Wire fraud is a felony offense that can result in several particularly severe penalties.

One penalty can be up to a maximum of twenty years in prison. In cases where the victim of the wire fraud was a financial institution like a bank, the potential consequences of such a charge are heightened and can result in up to a maximum of thirty years in prison.

In addition to time in prison, individuals who are convicted of wire fraud can also face up to three years of probation and depending on which is greater a fine of either $250,000 or twice the amount of loss that caused by the fraud.

Defenses to Wire Fraud

There are several ways in which individuals are often able to create strong defenses in response to charges of wire fraud, which include the following:

  • Reasonable Doubt Standards Have Not Been Met. In some cases, individuals are able to argue that the government has not established all of the available elements of a wire fraud charge beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, individuals are able to argue that they did not possess the specific intent to defraud another individual.
  • Good Faith. If an individual was acting in good faith that their activity did not constitute wire fraud then that individual did not have the intent to enter into a scheme to defraud another individual. In these cases, an individual might demonstrate that efforts were made to compensate for a victim’s damages once the individual learned of the harm that had been done. 

Obtain the Services of a Skilled Defense Attorney

If you are the target of an investigation involving Wire Fraud, or you have already been charged with, strong and talented legal representation can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Contact attorney Henry Fasoldt today.