Nowadays, wire fraud becomes more popular. And fraudsters use more and more wire, radio, or television to carry out unlawful activities. In today’s economy, financial crimes and frauds obtain various forms and are committed by using new technologies. The legislator strongly prohibits such activity and sets forth severe penalties for violating these norms.
Any person, legal entity or even state can become a victim of fraud crimes. The most important thing to overcome fraud offenses is to know how you can detect the early warning signs of it in order to save money and time.
Below, The Margarian Law Firm will introduce you the main elements of the Wire Fraud Law. In the resources of our site you can find detailed information about different kind of financial crimes and fraud in California.
1. Legal Definition of the Fraud in California
2. Elements of the Fraud Offense
3. Typical Schemes of California Wire Fraud
4. Punishment of Wire Fraud
5. Legal Defenses to California Fraud Accusations
6. Related Articles
In addition, we are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning fraud charges in California for free.
1. Legal Definition of the Wire Fraud in California
In 1952, Congress passed the wire fraud statute including it into the Communications Act Amendment. At this time, there was mail fraud law, but Congress was seeking to extend its provisions and cover new technologies. Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 set forth the federal statute on wire fraud.
Fraud crime has various forms. Wire Fraud is similar to the general fraud provisions; the difference is that it occurs over phone lines or electronic communications.
Under US Code Section 1343, it is stated the following definition of the wire fraud:
“Any person, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice is guilty of wire fraud.”
Thus, the legislator has outlined two main characteristics in order to consider the crime committed:
1) existence of a scheme to defraud,
2) use of wires for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice.
Pursuant to the Supreme Court note, the “object of the fraud” has to be victim’s money or property. The venue for prosecution should be the district where the transmission began, continued, or was completed.
Most probably, the wire fraud statute would replace mail fraud taking into consideration the following facts:
– the regular mail is not used as it was before;
– the statute does not mention any specific scheme to commit the wire fraud, consequently, it is easier for prosecutors to apply it;
– the terms used in the statute, such as wire, radio, or television communication, cover almost all new technology.
The Department of Justice is increasingly uses wire fraud in the prosecution of money laundering, financial crimes, and telemarketing fraud. The cause is that the sentencing for a wire fraud conviction exceeds any other available penalty of other applicable offenses.
2. Criminal Elements of the Fraud Offense
The United States Attorney manual distinguishes the four essential elements of the crime of wire fraud which are the following:
1) the defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money;
2) the defendant did so with the intent to defraud;
3) it was reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used;
4) interstate wire communications were in fact used.
3. Common types of Wire Fraud in California
In general, wire fraud includes electronic transfers of funds to bank accounts, trust companies or offshore companies. The crime involves any electronic communication in the furtherance of a crime, such as e-mails, phone calls, text messages etc.
In wire fraud schemes, the offenders are looking for financial personal information in order to use someone’s credit card to take money from a bank account.
Fraudsters often use Internet and telemarketing in order to defraud people. It is spread the practice of “Phishing” which means that the offender sends an e-mail to mass amounts of people. The e-mail usually contains a convincing history with the request of personal information. The most infamous examples that is the scheme called “Nigerian prince”. In such scam, the offenders try to convince that the prince and his brother are the only surviving soul of their imprisoned father who was the king or president of the country. After the revolution they managed to make their way to a nearby country where they are now living as refugees in order to secure lives since there is other alternative. Then the sender asks the reader’s bank account in order to deposit the money he has saved after the revolution with the intent to hide money from rebels. If the reader provides information, the scammer would use that information to obtain reader’s money. Some schemes are easy to recognized, but others are not. Be careful when a person requests your personal information by any email, TV broadcast, or phone call.
3. What Penalties Can a Person Committed Wire FraudFace ?
Under U.S. law, wire fraud is considered to be a felony. The convicted can face the following penalties:
– imprisonment from 5 years but not more than 20 years. However, the sentence will be enhanced if the victim of the crime is a financial institution, such as a bank. In this case, the incarceration can be 30 years in federal prison;
– a fine . If the crime affected a financial institution, the fine must not be more than $ 1,000,000.
It should be taken into consideration that there is no difference between attempted and completed crime of wire fraud. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1349, any person who attempts or conspires to commit wire fraud will be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the completed crime, the commission of which was the object of the attempt or conspiracy.
4. Legal Defenses to California Fraud Accusations
The prosecutor has the burden to prove in order to convict the defendant. During the process, is has to be proven the following elements in order to find the defendant guilty:
– To defraud or obtain money or property using fraudulent pretenses by any schemes or making materially false representations
– Transmission by wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce.
An experienced and professional California defense attorney can use various legal defenses in order to reduce or dismiss your charge. Below, we represent some of them.
– False accusations
– Plea bargain and dismissals
– Lack of intent
5. Related Articles
If you or a loved one have faced accusations of fraud crime, it is essential to contact an experienced California defense attorney who is will provide legal assistance. The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. Each defense will be developed upon the facts of your individual case. Do not hesitate to contact us. You will get your legal assistance as soon as you contact us.
You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000