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Wire Fraud

Wire Fraud Defense 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 fraud 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, cryptocurrency crimes, copyright infringement, government program fraud, PPP loan 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 anyone who devises a scheme to defraud, or obtaining money or property by false pretenses or promises. Also for transmitting by wire communication in interstate commerce, any writings or sounds for the purpose of executing the fraudulent scheme.

A violation of this code can result in large fines and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Furthermore, if the violation affects a financial institution, then you could be facing a fine up to $1 million dollars and a prison sentence of up to 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.

18 U.S.C. 225 defines the crime of continuing financial crimes enterprise (CFCE). 18 U.S.C. 1342 defines the crime of a fictitious name or address.

18 U.S.C. 1960 defines the prohibition of unlicensed money-transmitting businesses. 18 U.S. Code 1346 defines the related crime of honest services fraud.


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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Call today for a free consultation!

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

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