More than $600 trillion was moved via wire transfer in 2012 alone, and more than 130 million wire transfers occur annually. Although the majority of these transfers go through with no complications, some of these transactions are considered fraudulent by the U.S. government. Statistics show that as many as 60 percent of all fraud attempts throughout the U.S. are completed in the form of wire transfers.
Wire transfer fraud is a federal offense, and those convicted may face multiple federal charges. Although you may wish to represent yourself if you have been accused of a wire transfer scam, an experienced wire transfer fraud lawyer can offer legal assistance to help protect your rights. If you are caught in the middle of a wire transfer scheme, contact Raiser & Kenniff, PC today and let our legal team help you avoid the series penalties associated with this offense.
Wire Transfer Fraud is Prohibited by Law
According to U.S. law, wire transfer fraud is a type of wire fraud. Under 18 U.S. Code Section 1343, wire fraud is defined as using television, radio or wire communications as part of an artifice or scheme to defraud. However, wire fraud laws apply to a number of situations, and “scheme” is often broadly interpreted. Two examples include:
1. Obtaining bank account information and wiring money without first obtaining the account owner’s permission is considered wire transfer fraud as well as prohibited bank transfer fraud. Someone may use hacking, phishing or a variety of offline and online methods to obtain someone’s bank account information and begin fraudulent wire transfers.
2. Using fake information or false pretenses to convince someone to send a wire transfer is one of the most common instances of wire fraud. The caller or writer will claim that an individual’s family member is in trouble and the victim must wire money immediately to provide assistance.
Since wire fraud typically involves an attempt to unlawfully recover money from a bank or financial institution using false promises, misrepresentations or false pretenses, you may also face bank fraud charges as outlined in 18 U.S. Code Section 1344. Depending on the methods the defendant used to initiate the wire transfer or the method by which he or she obtained bank account information, offenders may also face additional fraud offenses.
In Laughlin v. United States (2014), the Supreme Court clarified that an individual does not necessarily need to attempt to defraud a bank in order to be charged. As long as your wire transfer scam would naturally result in the distribution of false information to a bank or one of your objectives of your wire transfer scheme involved recovering money held by a bank, you can face bank or wire fraud charges.
How to Avoid Conviction When Charged with Wire Transfer Fraud
Depending on the circumstances and specifics of the alleged wire scam, wire fraud and bank fraud can both result in up to 30 years of jail time if the offender is found guilty of defrauding a bank or financial institution. For this reason, it is important for you and your legal team to develop a solid strategy for responding to charges. Your New York wire fraud lawyer will be able to guide you through the process in an attempt to minimize the severe penalties you face or to lessen the likelihood of conviction. Possible wire transfer fraud defenses may include:
– Good faith. If you truly believe that the statements to begin the wire transfer were true, you were not part of a scheme to defraud a financial institution. However, if you knew beforehand that the statements were false or inaccurate, you may not legally or wilfully blind yourself to the truth.
– Insufficient evidence. If the prosecution is unable to procure evidence that the wire transfers or other types of methods were used as part of a scam, you may not be held responsible for the alleged scheme.
Get Help from a Wire Transfer Fraud Attorney Today
A New York wire transfer fraud lawyer can work with you to determine possible defenses for your specific situation. Your legal team may also assist you in negotiating a plea bargain. Depending on your case, you may be eligible to limit the penalties of conviction if you admit to your role in the wire transfer scam and the case settles outside of the courtroom or even reduce your charges the charges. For more information about your rights or to speak with a member of our team about your case, contact Raiser & Kenniff, PC today.
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