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Understanding The Severity Of Federal Wire Fraud Charges

by | Jul 31, 2022 | White Collar Crimes

Wire fraud is one of the most common white-collar crimes in Alaska and around the country. Similar to mail fraud, it involves using various types of electronic communication with intentional deception for monetary or personal gain. Wire fraud can be a state or a federal offense but is more commonly the latter.

Defining wire fraud

The definition of wire fraud is broad and may consist of writings, signs, signals, pictures, or transmitted sounds. Wire fraud can occur on platforms like cell and landline phones, texting, fax, internet messaging apps, social media messages, email, radio and television, plus any other forms of airwaves or cable communications.

Criminal defense strategies must prove your innocence in four key areas:

  • Created or participated in a scheme to defraud others out of money or property
  • Actions with intent to defraud
  • Knew that wire communications may be used
  • Actually did use wire communications

In addition to individuals, wire fraud often involves organized crime organizations. Typical scams include telemarketing fraud, identity theft, phishing, and spam-related financial crimes.

One of the oldest forms of internet wire fraud is the Nigerian price scam. As most people are now aware of this one, the scam has morphed into scammers creating real-looking fake bank accounts to dupe unsuspecting victims.

Wire fraud carries hefty penalties

White-collar charges like wire fraud present complex cases that require aggressive defense strategies. If convicted, punishment is harsh, with fines up to $250,000 for individuals, $500,000 for corporations, and up to 20 years in prison. Penalties are even higher if the fraud involves a financial institution or a presidentially declared natural disaster. The consequences mount quickly as each instance where the fraud occurred constitutes a single count. Thus, fines can range into millions of dollars.

Building a solid defense against wire fraud charges takes time. Providing as much information as possible about your operations can help make your defense. Sometimes, the best course of action may be to accept negotiations with federal authorities or reduce the charges through a possible plea bargain or other tactics.