Los Angeles Wire Fraud Attorneys
18 U.S.C. § 1343
Wire fraud is defined as any criminally fraudulent activity that involves the use of electronic communications of any kind, at any phase of the event. The original crime carries its own penalties in addition to the penalties involved with wire fraud, regardless of whether the original crime is tax fraud, health care fraud, or any other number of possible offenses. By using electronic communications in the commission of the crime, the crime is raised to the level of wire fraud and therefore incurs enhanced punishment, which may include a separate federal prosecution for crimes that would otherwise be matters of state jurisdiction.
United States Code Section 1343 provides punishment for “whoever, 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.” Violators of the federal code are subject to large fines and/or imprisonment for not more than 20 years. Furthermore, if the violation in any way affects a financial institution then the violator will be subject to fines not more than $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment not more than 30 years.
Code Provision and Elements
18 U.S.C. § 1343 prohibits “Wire Fraud.” As with Mail Fraud, as discussed elsewhere on our website, Wire Fraud does not refer to a specific type of fraudulent scheme. Rather, it is simply the crime of facilitating whatever fraudulent scheme or conduct one is engaged in by utilizing interstate telephone calls or other electronic communications. The essential elements of Wire Fraud are the existence of a fraudulent scheme, and the use of interstate telephone or other electronic communications to execute, or attempt to execute, that scheme.
Wire Fraud is closely related to Mail Fraud. In many fraudulent schemes, the conduct will give rise to charges for both Wire and Mail Fraud. Please see our page on Mail Fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1341 for more information.
Wire Fraud is punishable by imprisonment for 20 years, a fine, or both.
There are two subsets of Wire Fraud which are punishable by a $1,000,000 fine, 30 years’ incarceration, or both. These are Wire Fraud involving a federally declared disaster (such as sending false solicitations to defraud disaster victims) or affecting a financial institution.
- You were unaware of the fraud – Fraud schemes often involve multiple actors. It may be that you simply placed a telephone call at the direction of your employer, or another individual. If your attorney can show that you were not a part of the fraudulent scheme itself, your facilitation of the scheme by placing the call is not enough to convict you of Wire Fraud.
- The telephone or other electronic communication did not help execute the fraud – Your attorney will want to examine the government’s evidence as to how the specific telephonic or electronic communications played into the larger alleged fraud. It may be that the communications are so unrelated to the purposes of the fraud itself that you may not be properly charged with Wire Fraud.
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Wire Fraud cases are often complex and fact-dependent. If you, or someone you know, is being investigated or has been charged with the federal crime of Wire Fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1343, call our experienced Los Angeles wire fraud attorneys today. We will advise you on how to protect your rights and resolve your case for the best possible outcome.
Considering the serious consequences of a wire fraud conviction, you will need the legal counsel of a law firm that knows how to defend cases in a federal court. Call us 24/7 at (877) 781-1570. for your free initial case evaluation.
Esiner Gorin LLP, Los Angeles Federal Defense Attorneys