Wire fraud is one of the most complex white collar crimes in the United States. It is such a complicated matter that many defendants are caught completely off guard when charged with wire fraud. In other words, it is possible to face these charges without knowing whether you even committed a crime. This post will provide a brief outline of this offense, including some possible penalties of a conviction.
Wire fraud occurs when a party or parties conduct a scheme to illegally obtain money using telephone lines or electronic communications. Examples of this include phishing and spam-related fraud as well as telemarketing schemes. As long as the alleged crime involves defrauding victims over the phone, through internet communications or even over the television, it may meet the definition of wire fraud.
According to FindLaw, wire fraud offenses contain four elements:
- The creation of, or participation in, a scam to cheat victims out of funds
- Use of interstate wire communications (phone, Internet, etc.) to execute the scheme
- Having reasonable knowledge that the scheme would involve wire communication
- Participating in the scam with an intent to defraud others
Because white collar crimes like wire fraud are so complex it is not possible to discuss all the possible penalties of a conviction, but here are a few to consider.
- Up to 20 years in prison
- Up to $250,000 in fines for individual defendants
- Up to $500,000 in fines for organizations involved in wire fraud
As you can see, a wire fraud conviction means facing very real and very costly consequences. Any Kentucky resident facing white collar crime allegations such as wire fraud will benefit from a strong approach to defending yourself.
For example, if you work for a company that involved you in a wire fraud scheme without your knowledge, an attorney may help you overcome these charges.