How Does the Law Define Wire Fraud?
According to the Manual of US Justice Criminal Resource Section 941.18 USC 1343, wire fraud constitutes the following elements:
- The offender deliberately and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money
- The offender acted intending to defraud
- There was a reasonable possibility that interstate wire communications would be used
- Interstate wire communications were actually used
By definition, wire fraud entails using some form of telecommunications, such as fax, phone call, text, email, or social media messaging. If you’re facing wire fraud charges, you risk facing harsh penalties and consequences. It would be best to consult a criminal defense and injury lawyer in Philadelphia to help you fight the charges.
Is Wire Fraud a State of Federal Crime?
Wire fraud is a federal crime that carries severe penalties upon conviction. The sentence is imprisonment of not more than 20 years and fines of not more than $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. If the fraud is related to exceptional circumstances, for example, targeting a financial institution, it can attract 30-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million.
The penalties can also become stiffer if the wire fraud becomes a presidentially declared state of emergency. According to the law, an accused person doesn’t need to have committed actual fraud to be convicted of wire fraud. Instead, sufficient proof of an attempt to defraud or act with the knowledge of sending fraudulent communication is enough to earn a conviction.
Working with a skilled white-collar crimes attorney in Philadelphia is the best strategy for creating a defense plan that works. Your lawyer can poke holes in the evidence against you to help you have the charges dropped.
What Is Wire Fraud Conspiracy
If you’re facing charges for wire fraud conspiracy, you and another person or other people joined hands intending to use electronic communication for criminal activity. You don’t need to have committed actual fraud to be convicted of wire fraud, as a clear intention to commit the fraud is sufficient evidence to have you convicted.
Fighting wire fraud conspiracy charges is often complex, and you don’t want to go to trial without proper legal representation. Contact an experienced Philadelphia white-collar crimes attorney for legal assistance. They know how the criminal system works and can help you navigate the situation, avoiding potentially harsh penalties.
What Are Some Examples of Wire Fraud?
Whether wire fraud is committed against large corporations or individuals, the crimes can be incredibly damaging. Some of the most common types of wire fraud include the following:
Social Security Scams
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), many people fall victim to phone scams where the callers claim to be from the SSA. The callers pretend to be calling to warn the unsuspecting victims that their SS numbers have been suspended for reasons such as illegal activities.
They threaten the receiver with legal action or an arrest if they fail to comply with the instructions. Others give promises of various types of benefits in exchange of confidential information.
Internet Wire Fraud
This type of scam often happens through email or other platforms on the internet, also known as cybercrime. Common types of cybercrimes are:
- Hacking: The offender gets unauthorized and unlawful online access to the victim’s confidential information that enables them to commit fraud
- Phishing: Malicious actors use baits through email to make the victim provide private information. Once they access this data, the actors can log into the victim’s accounts, such as bank accounts, and transfer money to their accounts.
- Advance-fee scams: The actors trick the victim into paying a significant amount as an advance fee in exchange for a hefty amount payable after this initial “favor.”
These scams often target jobseekers, with the scammers reaching out to the victims with high-paying jobs on reputable hiring platforms. Through the scams, the actors steal confidential information such as SS numbers or birthdays, which they use to facilitate wire fraud.
Whatever type of wire fraud you’ve been charged with, it’s crucial to seek the help and guidance of a reputable criminal defense and injury lawyer in Philadelphia. They are in a better place to face the prosecution on your behalf and aggressively defend you against the charges.
What Are the Penalties for a Wire Fraud Conviction?
Wire fraud offenses have a different count for every instance of communication associated with fraudulent activity. For example, if you sent five emails in a single fraudulent scheme, each email counts as a separate act of wire fraud.
Since wire fraud is a federal crime, the penalties are as follows:
- Up to 20 years in a federal prison
- Up to $250,000 in fines for individuals
- Up to $500,000 in penalties for organizations
In addition to these penalties, a wire fraud conviction can ruin your life and future. A criminal record diminishes your chances of employment, housing, and education. Let an aggressive white-collar crimes attorney in Philadelphia help you fight the charges to protect your reputation, freedom, and future.
Fight Criminal Charges With the Help of a Professional Defense Representative
You risk facing hefty penalties if you have been charged with wire fraud. Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer is your best bet toward successfully fighting the charges and having them dropped. They can use various defense strategies like a mistake of fact, lack of intent, and puffery in your defense.
Our law firm has been representing clients with criminal charges for many years, with high success rates for favorable outcomes. Our lawyers have the experience and counsel you need to help you make the right decision concerning your charges. Contact us to book your initial consultation.