If you have been accused of fraud, you naturally may wonder what this means for your future. After all, fraud is a federal offense and thus comes with hefty penalties.
Fraud exists in many forms, with one of these being wire fraud. If you currently face wire fraud charges here in New York, it is within your rights to aggressively fight these charges in court to preserve your freedom and your future.
What exactly is wire fraud?
The definition of this type of crime is quite broad, essentially including any sounds, pictures, signals, signs or writings transmitted via wire, TV or radio in foreign or interstate commerce. Basically, it is fraud that involves the use of electronic communications or that occurs over a phone line. Examples of wire fraud include telemarketing fraud or schemes related to spam or phishing.
To receive a conviction for wire fraud, prosecutors at trial must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you participated in or created a scheme aimed at defrauding another person out of his or her money. In addition, you must have done this with the intent of defrauding that person, and you must have used interstate wire communications to do it.
What are the penalties for wire fraud?
If you receive a guilty verdict in your wire fraud criminal case, you will face a fine that could be as high as $250,000. Organizations may also face $500,000 fines. In addition, you may spend up to two decades behind bars. However, if your wire fraud involved a monetary institution or was tied to an event that the U.S. president labeled a major disaster, the penalties are even higher. You could spend up to three decades behind bars and have to pay a $1 million fine.
All of these penalties apply to a single count. Therefore, if you are convicted on three separate wire fraud counts not related to a major disaster or monetary institution, you can expect your prison term to be up to 60 years and your fine to be $750,000.
Your rights as a defendant in a wire fraud case
If you face wire fraud charges, it is within your rights to proceed to court to defend yourself against these charges or to seek to negotiate a plea deal. The benefit of a plea agreement is that it might lead to a more lenient sentence than what you would receive following a finding of guilt at trial. Either way, an attorney will push for the best outcome for you given the facts of your case.