The United States Penal Code defines wire fraud as “Financial fraud involving the use of telecommunications or information technology,” and it’s a white collar crime in every state. Fraud that includes the use of electronics is automatically considered more severe than fraud not using electronic means. Every state has the authority to prosecute defendants accused of wire fraud, but each cause has the potential to face federal charges as well. When federal prosecution is added, it’s added as a separate entity.
Wire fraud is any scheme to defraud any person or business out of money using false pretenses and any form of electronic communication. An example of wire fraud might include a hacker overtaking a person’s financial information online by changing the email address on the account before transferring money to a secondary account. He approves the transfer using the email address he used as a replacement, and obtains funds in this manner. Another example is a person who phishes financial information through email. By creating professional emails designed to replicate those sent by legitimate and reputable financial institutions, they’re able to solicit personal financial information from unsuspecting customers.
What is the Penalty for Wire Fraud?
The penalty for committing or conspiring to commit wire fraud varies. The judge’s final decision when a defendant is found guilty could include anything from a fine to a maximum 20 years in prison. When wire fraud defrauds any financial institution, he penalties are increased to fines up to $1 million and/or up to 30 years in prison. The severity of the punishment fits the crime. The more money stolen via wire fraud results in more fines and more time in prison. The prosecutor and judge might also consider the age and the previous criminal history of a defendant in deciding upon the proper penalty.
When wire fraud is a government fraud scheme, the penalty is automatically between 20 and 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. No defendant is penalized unless the prosecutor can prove the defendant knowingly and willingly entered into a scheme to defraud those in question, and the defendant used technology knowingly to carry out his or her act of fraud.
It’s imperative defendants understand wire fraud need not be successful to be considered a crime. For example, if a criminal sets up an online phishing scheme to solicit money from people via email by stealing their personal information but is unable to appropriately do so, they’re going to be tried for wire fraud. It’s not required the scheme is successful to be considered illegal. Wire fraud can be defined as a simple “Scheme to defraud” another person without success. In a case such as this, the penalty for wire fraud is usually less severe, and might not include fines.
Anyone guilty of scheming to or successful of committing wire fraud is also tried for each act. If a defendant uses the email phishing scam to solicit financial information from 45 people, they defendant has committed 45 acts of wire fraud.
Wire Fraud Cases
Defendants accused of wire fraud could be tried both in state and in federal court, which can mean maximum penalties are issued. With a knowledgeable and experienced NYC wire fraud defense attorney, defendants have a better chance of disproving the prosecutor on the case. This is done by disproving the intent and disproving the defendant’s knowledge of a wire fraud scheme. Attorneys with experience know which defenses are most successful in court, from arguing puffery to arguing good faith.
It’s a simple as defending a client by proving he or she tried to rectify the situation after learning fraud was committed, or by proving exaggeration was used in the pitch. Exaggeration can be proved if the fraudulent call or email used language describing the product for sale as the most amazing product in the world. It’s a sales pitch and a personal opinion, and not an attempt to defraud anyone.
Wire fraud is a serious crime, and it can mean spending decades in prison and up to $1 million in fines. Let an experienced NYC wire fraud lawyer help you with your case. Proving the prosecutor doesn’t know the facts correct can keep you out of jail.