Over the past few months, there has been a rise in wire fraud cases in California. Mostly done through electronic communication, wire fraud is where a person tries to steal money from you through a phone or computer. Although wire fraud is similar to mail fraud, the means of communication differ. In the United States, wire and mail fraud are federal crimes. Most wire fraud cases are handled by the Department of Justice and the FBI. However, some states have laws against wire fraud. Thus, you are likely to face prosecution at state courts if found practicing wire fraud.
Elements of wire fraud
To be arrested of wire fraud, you must:
- Have the intent to fraud someone
- Have used interstate communication wires to fraud a person
- Reasonable doubt to use interstate communication wires in the fraudulent scheme
Interstate communication wires is a broad term that depends on the statutes used. Mostly, sound, pictures and words are transmitted through telephone lines, public internet or computers. Wire fraud is carried out in either telemarketing or online phishing scams. Phishing is described as the fraudulent use of emails to obtain the personal information of a person.
Intent to defraud
According to federal laws, mail & wire fraud are not accidental acts. However, for federal prosecutors to file a case against you, they need to prove that you had the intent to obtain money or property from another person.
Depending on the circumstance, the defenses for wire fraud differ. Here are some possible defenses.
- A person carries out wire fraud with the intent of getting something valuable. With good faith, however, you haven’t committed any crime.
- Puffery means flattery and exaggerations to persuade a potential buyer. It is also a defense to wire fraud.
Wire fraud is a serious crime in the United States. If you’ve been charged with the crime, consult a criminal defense attorney.