The broad nature of the federal wire fraud statute means that anybody accused, charged, or alleged to have been complicit in wire fraud should appoint an experienced fraud attorney as a matter of urgency.
As an established specialist in mail and wire fraud and related offenses, Strom Law represents clients as a bank and loan fraud lawyer, developing appropriate strategies to work toward a successful resolution. Hiring a professional attorney is strongly advisable, as allegations of federal wire fraud can have serious repercussions, including prison sentences and substantial fines, whether the accusations relate to healthcare, securities, insurance, mail, or wire fraud.
What Communications Can Be Treated as Wire Fraud?
What are mail fraud and wire fraud, and how are they different? Either offense means that the individual or organization is alleged to have deliberately misled, falsified, or intended to deceive the communication recipient.
Mail fraud relates to any communications sent via US mail or a courier, and wire fraud is linked to electronic communications, such as emails or phone calls. In recent years, the definition of wire fraud has evolved to include the internet, so a growingly wide scope of communications, dialogues, circulars, and publications could be exposed to wire fraud allegations.
Which Transactions Constitute Federal Wire Fraud?
Wire fraud is normally prosecuted as a federal crime because most cases involve transactions or communications between states. This categorization means that people convicted of wire fraud can face heavy fines and long prison sentences, up to 20 years or, depending on the specifics, thirty years.
Varied communications can trigger an investigation, allegation, or prosecution, including:
- Emailed invoices or payment demands that are fraudulent or falsified
- Misrepresentative websites, social media posts, and other digital information
- Fraudulent lotteries, sweepstakes, and other promotions advertised online or over the phone
- Falsified emails and communications purporting to be from government agencies or other federal programs
- Telemarketing, scam emails, phishing, and coercive phone calls
Conspiracy to commit wire fraud can be treated similarly to the crime itself, and communications between alleged conspirators can also be used as evidence for the prosecution.
How Can I Challenge an Accusation of Wire Fraud?
An experienced attorney will investigate the particulars of your case and the accusations, allegations, or charges brought against you to evaluate the best course of action.
Much depends on the circumstances, the intent behind the communications or materials in question, and whether there was a deliberate attempt to defraud or deceive. Some of the potential avenues, which may be applicable in some wire fraud cases, might include:
- Establishing no purpose behind the communications: If calls, emails, or messages were sent without any way to extract money, property, or other interests from the recipient, a wire fraud charge might be unwarranted.
- Third-party involvement: Where an unauthorized individual or contractor disseminated communications claiming to be from you or your organization, it may be possible to demonstrate that the fraud was the responsibility of the perpetrator rather than the accused.
- Good faith is a defense that demonstrates that the accused did not intend to engage in deception or fraudulent schemes or had no viable way of knowing that communication may have been misleading.
Prosecutors are responsible for proving that the accused intentionally and deliberately participated in fraud, or a conspiracy to defraud, known as constructive fraud. If there is no evidence that you or your business engaged in fraud, it may be possible to challenge the lack of evidence against you.
There are also statute of limitations considerations that may apply, depending on the underlying allegations and when the alleged fraud occurred. Other constitutional and common law defenses may also be used in federal criminal proceedings and prosecutions, so this list is far from exhaustive.
How to React if You Are Accused of Wire Fraud
As in any criminal proceeding, if you are accused, charged, or investigated in a case linked to wire fraud, the first step is to contact a capable attorney to ensure you do not say or do anything to incriminate yourself inadvertently.
Wire fraud covers a vast scope of potential cases. There may be opportunities to challenge an allegation, respond positively to an investigation, and clear up charges brought by working through the evidence systematically and with a full understanding of the law.