Dishonest people will try all sorts of methods to defraud others. Wire Fraud is quite prevalent today, as the world of electronic communications reaches into even the most remote places in the nation and around the world. Using electronic communications to commit an illegal act is called Wire Fraud. Many people are accused of wire fraud when the government taps their communication device to obtain proof of criminal activity.
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Some people also are falsely accused of this crime, but do not know how to defend their rights. It is essential in either situation to act quickly to find the right Criminal Defense Attorney to provide legal advice and representation.
Federal Wire Fraud
There are many ways criminals use electronic communications to commit Wire Fraud. They make false representations to victims using the telephone in an attempt to obtain money. They might threaten someone with prosecution or arrest if payments are not made immediately over the telephone. This is a common scam today, happening to millions of people each year, and warnings about it are frequently seen on local TV news reports.
Federal Wire Fraud occurs whenever any wire or electronic communications are used to commit a crime. The Federal government has jurisdiction over this area of criminal activity because most communications pass through more than one state or country. Using radio, TV, telephone or the Internet to commit this type of crime in any type of foreign or interstate commerce is a crime.
Elements that constitute wire fraud include:
- Intent to defraud
- Use of interstate or international electronic means of communication
- Devising, or planning to devise a way to defraud another person by material misrepresentation
Under the law, it is not essential that the government has to prove every detail about the exact nature of the scheme, that the material the perpetrator transmitted by wire was fraudulent, or that the scheme actually worked to defraud anyone. All the state must prove is that the suspect knowingly and willfully devised a scheme with the intent to defraud another person, and that interstate wire communications were included in that planned scheme.
- Title 18 U.S. Code § 1343 - Fraud by wire, radio, or television
This statute regarding wire fraud that is used for federal prosecutions is used just as with mail fraud, crimes that normally would have only been a violation of state law. Since wire communications often run across state lines, the federal government may have jurisdiction over any wire fraud cases. For this crime, communications can include any writings, signs, signals, sounds or pictures used to execute the scheme.
Punishment for Wire Fraud
There are stiff punishments for a conviction on Wire Fraud. The federal Wire Fraud Act states that you can be put in prison for up to 20 years. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit from a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, or if it affects a financial institution, penalties are more severe. You could be imprisoned for up to 30 years and fined up to $1,000,000. These are serious problems to face; you will need a strong legal arm to help protect your rights and your freedom.
In some cases, the suspect could be charged at the state levels if the evidence does not allow for federal jurisdiction. Punishments can also be increased due to the circumstances of the crime. The crime may also warrant civil punishments. It is a felony crime, which means much tougher penalties will apply, including one or more of these punishments: incarceration, fines, restitution and probation.
Criminal Defenses – Wire Fraud
When you are accused of wire fraud, you need an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney on your side. With a solid background in winning similar cases, your attorney will try to prove one or more of the four major defenses for wire fraud.
Defenses for wire fraud include:
- The wire communications were not related to any wire fraud scheme.
- The defendant did not know what content was in the communication.
- Lack of evil intent to show you did not have intent to defraud. The argument would be that you acted without any evil intent.
- The alleged victim suffered no injury.
Having a workable defense is a must to avoid the severe consequences that are possible for this felony crime at either the state or federal level. Your future and freedom are at stake; penalties can be extreme, depending on the actual crime details that were discovered.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you look for an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer, it is important to obtain legal help from the best qualified attorney. Use all resources available for a referral, including family and friends, associates and the local bar association references. A strong and aggressive approach is necessary, as well as is having the resources needed to make a full investigation into your unique case.
Your Criminal Defense Lawyer should have extensive knowledge of the laws that control how the government may obtain wiretaps and how they are allowed to use any evidence collected in the manner against you. The lawyer should have a good track record of wins for wire fraud cases they handled in federal courts as well as state courts. Even if you are just under investigation, it is time to obtain legal counsel. An experienced Criminal Defense Attorney will help protect your rights, your freedom and your future. Call for help as soon as possible.