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What are the elements of a wire fraud case?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2021 | Criminal Defense

A wire fraud case is one that takes place over interstate communications. It might include a scam through email that intends to steal a person’s identity and their finances or to lure them into payments for a product that will never arise. There are other crimes that might end up being charged alongside wire fraud, but common internet crimes, like phishing and telemarketing fraud, fall into this category.

To be accused and convicted of wire fraud, the prosecution needs to have a convincing case. To build a case that makes sense, they will need to show that all four elements of a wire fraud case have been met.

Wire fraud cases have four elements that must be met for a charge and conviction. The four elements include:

  1. Creating or participating in a scheme that defrauds others out of property or money
  2. There was an intention to defraud
  3. The defendant used interstate wire communications
  4. It was reasonable (and foreseeable) that the defendant would use wire communications for the crime

Interstate communications are an important part of wire fraud cases. All that means, though, is that the person who is accused of the crime used internet communication, television transmissions, telephone calls, faxes, or other kinds of communications to commit a crime. These communications don’t necessarily have to be across state lines.

What kinds of penalties will you face in a wire fraud case?

If you are accused of wire fraud, you should know that you could face penalties such as:

  • Up to $250,000 as an individual or $500,000 with an organization
  • Imprisonment, which may not be more than 20 years for a single offense
  • Up to an additional 30 years imprisonment for wire fraud related to a financial institution or major disaster

Remember, each count will have these penalties. So, if you face five counts of wire fraud, you would face each of these penalties for each count. This is why it’s important to build a strong defense if you’re facing counts of wire fraud. A single offense is bad enough, but the penalties may be stacked and could lead to overwhelming penalties.