This guide is a comprehensive guide on wire fraud. It covers what constitutes wire fraud, the types of wire fraud, the different types of wire fraud, and wire fraud scams.
What Is Wire Fraud?
Wire fraud is criminal fraud committed using any form of electronic communication – computer, radio, social media, phone, internet, television, fax machines, etc. Wire fraud may involve using videos, images, or texts to induce criminal activity through the wire.
What Constitutes Wire Fraud?
There are three elements of wire fraud. To prove a wire fraud conviction, prosecutors must prove these elements of the crime.
1. Voluntary plan to cheat
The defendant voluntarily devised a plan to cheat someone for money or other valuable information.
2. Intentions to defraud
The prosecution needs to establish that the perpetrator of the crime had a deliberate purpose of cheating and that wire communication was used to advance this plan. That means the correct information was concealed, and criminal activity was done purportedly to dupe someone for money or something else of value.
3. Use of Wire communication for fraud
What separates wire fraud from any other scam, such as bank fraud or mail fraud, is the use of interstate communications. The prosecutors need to show that the crime was committed using interstate wire communication over state lines such as a fax machine, internet, cable, phone, etc.
Examples of Wire Fraud
Wire frauds cover a wide range of criminal acts, which may vary depending on the state legislation. Examples include-
- Creating a money laundering scheme to devise a plan for obtaining money from people.
- Creating a fake social media handle and asking people to donate to a charity.
- Sending emails and text messages to people trying to obtain their confidential information such as credit card details, account no, etc.
- Telemarketing scams to obtain money from people.
- Hiring scams where people are looking for jobs are being targeted with high-paying roles. Applicants are asked to pay hundreds of dollars to get into higher positions.
Who Investigates Wire Fraud Cases?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates federal crimes such as wire fraud. It may include threatening to harm others or spreading false information to gain money or property. Wire fraud can lead to fines of $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison. In such cases, consider hiring wire fraud lawyers for their knowledge of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the local rules for specific jurisdictions.
Wire Fraud vs. Bank Fraud
Many people confuse bank fraud with wire fraud. However, they are different and hence come under different legislations. While wire fraud specifies the process through which crime occurs, bank fraud describes the intended victim. The major differences include the following-
||Any criminal activity that is committed against financial institutions.
||Criminal activity is conducted through forms of wire communication.
|Statute of Limitations
||Max 30 years
||Max 20 years
Schemes For Wire Fraud Examples
Wire fraud typically targets defrauding big organizations such as banks, insurance firms, and other government agencies like the IRS. However, there have been multiple instances where criminals have tried to defraud individuals for money or their personal information.
Any fraud committed through wire communication to harm a person’s financial security comes under the scope of financial fraud. For example-
- Security fraud through activities involving investment securities and the sale and acquisition of securities.
Cybercrime is an umbrella term for all the fraud activities committed via online communication. When a fraud scheme involves wire communications, it is frequently termed wire fraud. For example- work at home and earn money kind of scams.
What are the legal defenses available to those accused of federal wire fraud?
If you’ve been accused of a wrong wire fraud, your attorney will use one of the several legal defenses available during the trial and/or appeals. The legal defense that your attorney will use depends on the particulars of your case, but the following are some of the more typical ones used to refute allegations.
- No Intention of fraud
- Error of Fact
The scope of wire fraud is broad and covers several kinds of fraudulent activities. If you’ve been accused of wire fraud, it’s best advised to hire a lawyer for your case.