What Are the Potential Penalties for Federal Wire Fraud Charges?
All types of criminal charges should be taken seriously, since a prosecution by law enforcement officials can affect a person’s life, reputation, and career. Federal charges can be especially serious, and prosecutors working for federal government agencies have significant resources to investigate an alleged crime and pursue charges in federal courts. What is more, a conviction of a federal crime will often result in more serious penalties. Wire fraud is one type of federal charge that has become more common in recent years, and those who are accused of committing this type of fraud will want to understand the nature of the crime and the potential consequences they could face if convicted.
What Is Wire Fraud?
Fraud generally involves the theft of money or property that is committed by making false statements, concealing facts, or misrepresenting a person’s identity. Wire fraud may include any forms of fraud that are committed through the use of interstate electronic communications. This includes a variety of criminal activities conducted over the internet, as well as those involving phones, radio, or television. Examples of wire fraud include:
A person may contact someone via email or social media, misrepresent their identity, and claim that they will pay a certain amount of money if the person provides access to their bank account.
A person may send falsified bills via email for goods or services that were not actually provided.
A website or illegal computer program may be used to steal people’s credit card numbers or gather identifying information that can be sold as part of an identity theft scheme.
A person may operate a Ponzi scheme in which they solicit investments from multiple people through online sources with no intent of paying money back.
Because a person accused of wire fraud and their alleged victims may be located in different states, and their communications will be transmitted through long-distance electronic services, these offenses fall under federal jurisdiction. Federal investigators and prosecutors may be able to access a great deal of information about a person’s alleged criminal activity, including the messages they sent, the bank accounts they accessed, and any money that was transferred. This may provide them with compelling evidence that may be used in a federal criminal case.
A person may be convicted of wire fraud if prosecutors can demonstrate that they willingly participated in a scheme to defraud one or more people, and interstate electronic communications were used to further that scheme. A conviction may result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years. If an alleged offense affected a bank or financial institution or was connected to a major disaster or emergency (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), a person may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and fined up to $1 million.
Contact a Collin County Wire Fraud Defense Attorney
If you are facing accusations of wire fraud or other federal crimes, The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. can help you determine your best options for defense. Contact our Plano federal crimes defense lawyers at 214-303-9600 to arrange a free consultation.