The commission and consequences of wire fraud

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2021 | Criminal Law

If you are a resident of Tennessee who is facing possible federal charges for the commission of wire fraud, then you may be wondering what exactly the crime involves and how you should go about mounting a defense. Wire fraud is a serious charge that comes with severe penalties, so you may need to speak with an attorney before responding to the accusation.

What is wire fraud?

Any type of fraud is an intentionally deceptive act designed to unlawfully gain a victim’s assets or deny the victim some right. Wire fraud specifically involves the use of telecommunications equipment or the internet to commit at least part of the crime. While there are state wire fraud laws in most jurisdictions, to be guilty of a federal crime, the communication must cross a state line.

What must the federal government prove to win its case?

Federal law enforcement officials must prove several factors to win in court. First, they must prove that you acted with the intent to defraud someone. Second, they must prove that you acted without anyone coercing you to participate. Third, the government’s case must establish that you had a reasonable idea that the crime would entail the use of telecommunication equipment. Next, they must prove that you had a reasonable suspicion that the transaction would cross state lines. Finally, they must establish that the event occurred in the last five years. If the crime was committed against a financial institution, then it must have happened in the previous 10 years. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney may help you better understand these complexities.

What are the possible consequences?

The penalties that you could face depend on many factors. If you acted alone, you could receive a fine of up to $250,000 and 20 years in prison. If you worked as part of a group, you could receive a fine of up to $500,000 as well as a sentence of up to 20 years. If a court finds you guilty of attempting to defraud a financial institution or acting during an officially federally declared state of emergency, the situation becomes even more serious. In that case, a judge could sentence you to up to 30 years and fine you up to $1 million.