If you use wire communications, such as email, as part of a scheme to intentionally defraud someone and take their money or property, you risk being indicted for the federal crime of wire fraud. If you are charged, you will need to retain an experienced defense attorney as soon as you can.
What You Need To Know About Federal Wire Fraud
Wire fraud has been a US crime since 1872, but the technology to commit this crime has, obviously, evolved. Today you can commit wire fraud using phone, email, fax, the Internet, TV, radio or any other kind of electronic means of communication.
Federal law makes it illegal to use electronic channels to defraud someone out of money, property or services. For example, if you run a Ponzi scheme through a website, or you phone hundreds of people and offer to sell them a nonexistent timeshare, you could be arrested for wire fraud.
Along with using electronic communication, the prosecution must also show that the defendant:
- Created a deception
- Had the intent to defraud their victim(s)
Wire fraud is often bundled in with other charges to add on to a defendant’s sentence. For example, if you are charged with tax fraud or mortgage fraud, a wire fraud will frequently be added in too.
Often prosecutors will use a wire fraud charge when they don’t have enough evidence to charge you with something else.
- You can be charged with wire fraud if you mention a specific scheme even once in an email or phone conversation.
- Each individual electronic communication is a separate wire fraud count. So if you sent 20 emails about a bogus real estate deal you can draw 20 separate counts of wire fraud in your indictment.
If you are convicted, you can be fined and/or sentenced to prison for up to 20 years.
How A Pennsylvania Wire Fraud Attorney Will Help
When you are up against a fraud charge, you will be facing inflexible laws and a determined US prosecutor. You will need a Pennsylvania wire fraud attorney who can help you determine all of your options and achieve the best outcome for your circumstances.
United States Code
Read more about federal criminal offenses in the United States Code.
Questions? Contact us today.
If you are charged with a federal crime, the consequences can be devastating. Fienman Defense will fight tenaciously to protect your constitutional rights. We will guide you through a court system that can be complex and intimidating, and provide you with the strongest possible defense.