What is wire fraud?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2023 | Blog, White Collar Crimes |

White-collar crimes often come along with penalties like hefty fines and jail time. This includes wire fraud.

While wire fraud often ends up grouped in with mail fraud, they are two separate crimes with different penalties.

Defining wire fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice Archives goes into detail about wire fraud. First of all, how does the law define it?

Legally speaking, wire fraud is an act of fraud that involves wire transmission of fraudulent information or the set-up of fraudulent acts. Wire transmission includes virtually anything that is not the mail. It includes telephone calls, emails, text messages, radio broadcasts and more.

Penalties for wire fraud

Those convicted of wire fraud may face up to 20 years in prison. They may also face a fine of up to $250,000. If the fraud a person commits targeted a financial institution or has connections to natural disasters, then the penalties increase. A person may face fines of up to $1 million.

Wire fraud convictions

In order for someone to face wire fraud conviction, the opposing counsel must prove that the person had a scheme to defraud and that they used interstate wire systems to further this scheme.

Schemes to defraud generally include any plan to separate a person from their assets, money, or access to rightful services. For example, popular wire fraud schemes include internet scams and telemarketing fraud, such as the “Nigerian prince scam” in which a person acting as royalty asks for bank information to temporarily deposit their money.

Anyone who ends up involved in and convicted of wire fraud schemes will face serious repercussions, which is crucial to keep in mind.