The repercussions for wire fraud

Wire fraud is the act of using electronic transmission to defraud another person. The communication may occur through the phone, internet or radio. It results in a person persuaded to send money under false pretenses. 

This crime is a federal offense, and the repercussions may be severe, depending on the details of each case. Whether one commits a fraudulent scheme through telemarketing, phishing or spam, it is wire fraud. 

Penalties for the offense 

This offense is a federal crime. The penalties for wire fraud committed against a person is as much as 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. For defrauding a company, the fine increases to $500,000. For cases that involve financial institutions, the charges may be up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. 

Proof of guilt  

The prosecution needs to prove that the defendant had the intent of defrauding someone of money or property. Important factors of a case include the defendant knowingly participating in a scheme to defraud and sending false information to the victim interstate or abroad. 

Prosecutors may still have a case if they can prove that the defendant sent a wire transmission that it was reasonable to assume was for fraudulent use, even if he or she insists that no knowledge of the wire communication’s fraudulent purpose. 

Strategies for defense  

A lack of intent or authority is a potential defense strategy for a wire fraud charge. If a person has evidence backing the claim that he or she did not intend to defraud anyone, this may help the person avoid a guilty sentence. 

In other cases, a defense strategy may be a lack of authority. For example, if employees sent emails requested by supervisors and did not realize the emails contained fraudulent material, they may have a strong case for defense. 

Statute of limitations 

The statute of limitations for wire fraud depends on whether the case involves a financial institution. Wire fraud has a statute of limitations of five years. However, if a case involves defrauding a financial institution, the limit increases to 10 years.