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Understanding Wire Fraud Laws

Wire fraud is one of the most commonly charged white collar crimes. A conviction of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Individuals who commit wire fraud are typically attempting to collect their victims’ personal financial information. This information allows them to use the victims’ credit cards or transfer money from the victims’ bank accounts. In recent years, the internet has been commonly used as a means to defraud victims.

To speak with one of our wire fraud attorneys in New York, contact Lebedin Kofman LLP online today or at (646) 663-4430 for your free consultation.

What is Wire Fraud?

Under 18 USC §1343, it is illegal for anyone to use or cause the use of “wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce” for the purposes of executing a scheme to defraud or to obtain money by false or fraudulent pretenses.

The fraud itself does not have to involve the wire communication, but instead all that must be proven is that the wire communication was used during the course of the fraud. Additionally, wire fraud now encompasses not only the use of wires, radio, and television, but also email, internet, phone calls, text messages, Facebook, Skype, videoconferencing, Twitter, and any other form of available electronic communication.

For behavior to be considered fraudulent, any misrepresentation must be related to the scheme. It must either help the defendant perpetrate the crime or convince a purported victim to believe the defendant.

What are the Penalties for Wire Fraud?

Wire fraud is a serious offense and a conviction can result in life-altering consequences. A conviction of wire fraud may result in a 20-year federal prison sentence. Additionally, fines up to $250,000 may be imposed depending on whether a defendant has the means to pay such fines. It the victim of the wire fraud is a financial institution, a judge may increase the prison sentence, fines, or both. The prison sentence may be increased from 20 to 30 years, and the fines may be increased from $250,000 to $1,000,000.

Providing Passionate, Proficient & Personalized Legal Defense

To convict a defendant of wire fraud, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • There was a scheme utilized or instated by the defendant and he or she devised the scheme to defraud another;
  • A defendant must intend to defraud another; and
  • Interstate wires were used or caused to be used during the course of the scheme to defraud. It is irrelevant whether the wire in a wire fraud case is legal, and the wire need not be sent by the defendant for it to fall under the confines of 18 USC §1343. The wire must simply relate to the crime for the third element of wire fraud to be satisfied.

Call our wire fraud attorneys in New York at (646) 663-4430 or contact us online to learn more about our firm and how we can help you. Call now to set up your free consultation.

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