Understanding the causes of federal wire fraud charges
Wire fraud is a serious offense in the United States, attracting severe penalties under federal law. It involves using interstate wire communications to carry out a scheme to defraud someone of money or property. According to the United States Department of Justice, in 2022, the courts charged and convicted over 600 people of federal wire fraud.
But what precisely leads to wire fraud charges?
Engaging in a scheme to defraud
One of the main components of wire fraud is engaging in a scheme to defraud someone. This means that you have intentionally developed a plan or trick with the aim of defrauding someone else of their money or property. This can include any type of deceit, trickery or breach of confidence where you aim to take something of value from another person.
Use of interstate wire communications
Another key component of wire fraud is the use of interstate wire communications. This can include any form of electronic communication such as telephone calls, emails, faxes or internet communications. The key aspect here is that the communication must cross state lines. This is what makes it a federal offense.
Intent to defraud
The final element in wire fraud charges is the intent to defraud. This means that you must have knowingly and willingly participated in the scheme with the specific intent to defraud someone else. It is not necessary for the scheme to have been successful or for the victim to have suffered a loss. It is the intention and attempt to defraud that matters.
Understanding what constitutes wire fraud can help you steer clear of any actions that might inadvertently lead to such charges.