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Understanding wire fraud

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2021 | Criminal Defense

In Texas, some people do not think that white-collar crimes are as serious as other types of offenses, but wire fraud and other white-collar crimes are treated harshly under federal law. People who are accused of wire fraud might need to vigorously defend against the allegations against them to avoid convictions and severe penalties.

What is wire fraud?

Under federal law, someone can be accused of wire fraud when they use some sort of telecommunications device or the internet to commit fraud. A person might be charged with this offense if they send emails, text messages, or social media messages or make phone calls with the intent to defraud others and scam them out of money while engaged in interstate commerce. A conviction for this offense can result in a lengthy prison sentence, hefty fines, and other collateral consequences.

What are the penalties for wire fraud?

Without a federal criminal defense strategy, a person charged with wire fraud might be convicted. They could face the following potential penalties:

• Up to 20 years in federal prison
• Fine of up to $250,000 for an individual
• Fine of up to $500,000 for a corporation
• Restitution order

Different statutes of limitation apply based on whether or not the target was a financial institution. If the target was an entity or person who was not a financial institution, prosecutors have five years from the date of when the incident occurred to indict the defendant. The statute of limitations for wire fraud against a financial institution is 10 years. When the target is a financial institution or the wire fraud occurs to take advantage of a declared emergency situation, the potential prison sentence will be up to 30 years with a maximum fine of up to $1 million.

People who learn that they are being investigated for wire fraud should take their situation seriously. A conviction could result in consequences that last for decades, so it’s important for someone accused of fraud to consider their legal options.