Wire fraud in Los Angeles, California, falls under white-collar crimes, which are nonviolent, illegal financial acts committed for monetary gain. The main offenders of white-collar crimes tend to be affluent people from business sectors, which gave these offenses the name.
Basics of wire fraud and elements
Offenders in the past had to use telephones to commit wire fraud, but modern technology gives them new ways of deception. According to U.S Code 18, wire and mail fraud differ by the method used to scam. Offenders of wire fraud may use texting, emails, social media and faxes to commit crimes.
In other words, one element of wire fraud is that the defendant must have used a form of interstate communication. The prosecutor must prove the element of willful intent, meaning the offender created a scheme and acted willfully with intent to defraud. A person may still be guilty if they took part in sending the transmission to carry out the scam.
Types of wire fraud
The Nigerian Prince scam is a common type of wire fraud occurring mainly from emails. The scammer pretends to be a desperate person in exile needing a safe place to keep the money. They ask the email recipient to give them their bank account number, and no money ever arrives. Other scammers may extort banking information by pretending that an individual won a prize over the phone, and they need to give their banking information to get the prize.
Phishing is a type of fraud involving a scammer using a fake website featuring a reputable business. They send the intended recipients an email posing as an employee who needs to verify their account for security. However, when the individual gets to the webpage, it asks them to enter their personal data for the scammer to use.
A single wire fraud penalty often includes stiff fines and up to 20 years in jail. However, the defendant has the right to fight the charges with a lawyer’s help.