Dallas Wire Fraud Defense Attorneys
Because it involves crossing state lines, wire fraud is a federal crime. It occurs when someone intentionally uses a “wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce” to carry out a scheme to defraud others of money, property, or anything of value. In today’s world, the crime is most often associated with the use of e-mail, text messages, and the Internet, including Zoom, Skype, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
A person accused of wire fraud could face serious consequences, including large fines and extensive time in prison. In most cases, the federal government will charge a person with one or more crimes related to the alleged wire fraud, such as bank fraud, money laundering, or drug trafficking. It can be highly intimidating.
If you have been charged with wire fraud, or if you know you are under investigation for the offense, you should seek help from a seasoned Dallas wire fraud defense lawyer as soon as possible. Federal prosecutors will move quickly to pursue a conviction. You need to have a legal team on your side that will move fast as well to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome in your case. Get in touch with criminal defense lawyers from Broden & Mickelsen, LLP today.
We have more than 60 years of combined experience defending clients charged with wire fraud and other white-collar crimes in federal courts in Texas and throughout the United States. In every case, we take a unique team approach to defending our clients, with both partners contributing our skills and knowledge to developing an effective strategy that meets our clients’ needs and goals.
To discuss how we can help you, call or reach us online today and receive a free consultation about your Dallas wire fraud case.
What Is Wire Fraud?
A federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1343, defines the offense of wire fraud. Under the statute, the crime occurs when someone devises or intends to devise any scheme to defraud, or to obtain money or property under false pretenses, by using some form of electronic communication in interstate or foreign commerce, including any “writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds.”
Texas has no similar statute. So, if you are charged with wire fraud in Dallas, your case will go through the federal court system. That is why it will be important to work with white-colar crime attorneys who have defended clients and tried cases in federal courts.
When the law was enacted in the early 1950s, it typically applied to people using communication technology such as phones, radio, and television to carry out fraudulent schemes. However, today, it is often associated with Internet-based technology. For instance, if a person uses a “phishing” scam to solicit money, it could lead to a wire fraud charge.
It’s important to know that each transmission a person makes to further or advance the underlying scheme to defraud can be charged as a separate crime. So, if a person sent 30 text messages to carry out a plan to defraud others, it could result in 30 separate counts of wire fraud.
What Does the Government Have to Prove in a Wire Fraud Case?
The elements of wire fraud are similar to those the federal government must prove to establish mail fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1341. To convict a person of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, the federal government must provide evidence that proves four facts beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money or property.
- The defendant did so with the intent to defraud
- It was reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used.
- Interstate wire communications were, in fact, used to further the scheme.
The statute doesn’t necessarily punish a person for the fraud itself. Instead, it punishes a person for the way the person carries out or attempts to carry out the scheme to defraud. That is why most defendants face wire fraud charges in addition to other charges related to the scheme.
Examples of Wire Fraud
The federal wire fraud statute can apply to a broad range of schemes to defraud involving the use of “interstate wire communications.” For example, a person could be charged with wire fraud for engaging in acts such as sending a false invoice by email, engaging in insider trading through an online brokerage, or even selling counterfeit items through an online site like Craigslist.
Two of the most common types of wire fraud are:
- Telemarketing schemes – When a person uses the phone to try to obtain money or property from others. For instance, if one calls others to solicit money for a fake charity or to obtain their personal financial information, it could constitute wire fraud.
- Phishing scams – When a person uses e-mail to get someone else’s personal information, which could, in turn, be used to obtain money or property. For example, a person could send an email to another saying that they have won a $5,000 prize and simply need to send their bank account number for the money to be deposited.
Again, the federal government can – but rarely does – bring a wire fraud charge in isolation. Typically, prosecutors will charge a person with a crime that involved the use of wire communications.