If you have been charged with wire fraud, you need an experienced federal defense lawyer to represent you and protect your rights. Wire fraud is a serious offense that can be punishable by hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences if convicted.
Remember that an allegation or arrest is not the same as a conviction. You have the right to mount an aggressive defense against these charges. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Invictus Law before you make any statements to investigators. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers will put our skills and experience to work for you as we fight to protect you every step of the way. Call now for a confidential consultation.
What is Wire Fraud?
Under U.S. Criminal code (941. 18 U.S.C. 1343), wire fraud is a serious federal crime that occurs when an individual intentionally uses an interstate communications device as a part of a scheme to defraud someone of anything of value. Examples of wire fraud include telephone solicitation, telemarketing scams, false 900 phone numbers, and unsolicited junk email.
To be convicted of wire fraud, a prosecutor must prove the defendant:
- Was part of a scheme to defraud another person or party, such as by obtaining money, through false pretenses
- Acted knowingly or with the intent to defraud
- Made false representations that were relevant to the defrauding
- Transmitted a material misrepresentation by wire, radio, television, or another form of communication
A person can be found guilty even if they never actually defrauded anyone and even if they did not personally send a fraudulent transmission.
Penalties for Federal Fraud
The penalties for federal wire fraud are serious. Because it is a federal crime, a conviction could result in time in federal prison. Wire fraud is punishable by a fine and/or up to 20 years in prison. If the fraud involves federal disaster relief funds or a financial institution, the maximum prison sentence increases to 30 years.
Common Defenses Against Wire Fraud Charges
Common defenses include:
Lack of Intent
This defense challenges the prosecution’s evidence of intent. To be convicted, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to commit wire fraud. If there is not enough evidence to show you had intent, you cannot be convicted.
This defense claims that the fraud was the result of reckless business practices and did not have intent.
Mistake of Fact
This defense says that you did not intentionally act to defraud someone. However, it differs from lack of intent defense in that it was your sincere belief that the facts you communicated were true. You could potentially avoid a wire fraud conviction if you were oblivious to the fact that you had misrepresented something in your wired communication.
Expiration of the Statute of Limitations
Under 18 U.S.C. Section 1343, the statute of limitations for wire fraud is five years. After the statute of limitations expires, the government is barred from prosecuting you. If it has been five or more years since the last alleged use of communication to defraud, the statute of limitations defense may be available to you.
Puffery is the use of exaggeration by salespeople in trying to secure a sale. This defense says that the salesperson was simply using colorful language to make a sale, rather than intentionally lying to and defrauding a potential buyer.
How Invictus Law Could Help You
At Invictus Law, our experienced defense attorneys have successfully defended people against federal criminal charges, and we’ll be ready to stand up and fight for you. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to navigate the complicated and challenging area of federal wire fraud investigations and prosecutions. Call (757) 317-5125 or reach out to us online today for a confidential case evaluation.