What is Wire Fraud?

 Posted on November 16, 2023 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerWire fraud is any fraudulent or deceitful scheme used to obtain money or property. The act usually involves sending an electronic message or making a telephone call to deceive others for your own financial gain. Wire fraud is a federal crime carrying severe consequences.

If you have been charged with wire fraud, you may be facing jail time, steep fines, asset forfeiture, or any combination of these. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced Chicago federal wire fraud attorney to discuss your case.

Federal Wire Fraud Charges

Since our society relies heavily on technology to conduct business, wire fraud is very common. Federal wire fraud involves the use of interstate or foreign wire communications.

According to Federal law (18 U.S. Code ยง 1343), a person has committed wire fraud if the following elements are present: 

  1. Devising or intending to devise any scheme to defraud;
  2. A scheme that serves the purpose of obtaining money or property for false pretenses; 
  3. Using interstate wire communications to conduct the scheme is expected; and
  4. Interstate wire communications were used to execute the scheme.

Since emails and any information relayed over the internet are transmitted in international commerce, many wire fraud crimes are prosecuted at the federal level.

Penalties for Wire Fraud

If you are found guilty of wire fraud, you could be spending up to 20 years in federal prison. Individuals convicted of wire fraud can be fined $250,000. Organizations can be fined as much as $500,000.

There are two provisions in which you could be fined up to $1 million, be incarcerated for 30 years, or both. This includes wire fraud that defrauds disaster victims in a nationally declared natural disaster or defrauding a bank or other financial institution.

Anyone who is convicted of wire fraud will be subject to asset forfeiture, which is the seizure of any real or personal property that you obtained in connection to your crime.

Wire Fraud Investigations

If you are charged with wire fraud, you will be investigated by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC receives reports specifying fraud directly from law enforcement agencies, consumers, and the Better Business Bureau.

Defenses to Wire Fraud

If you have been charged with wire fraud, the following defenses may be available to you:

  • You were unaware of the fraud: You may have been asked to send an email or make a telephone call on behalf of your employer, not knowing that you were taking part in a scheme to commit wire fraud.
  • The government erred in charging you with fraud: A prosecutor may have been wrong in associating the number you called from or your email having a connection to the wire fraud scheme.

To defend the charges against you, you need to speak with a Chicago federal wire fraud attorney as soon as possible.

A Chicago, IL, Federal Wire Fraud Attorney Defending Your Rights

Everyone deserves experienced and skilled representation when facing criminal charges. If you have been arrested for wire fraud, a Chicago, IL, federal defense attorney can help to defend your charges. Contact Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney online or by calling 312-629-0669 to schedule your free consultation. 


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