FEDERAL WIRE FRAUD ATTORNEY ORANGE COUNTY CA
The crime of fraud involves intentionally deceiving another person with the intent to cause that person harm, and one of the most common types of fraud crimes charged and prosecuted in the United States is wire fraud. The federal statute prohibiting wire fraud is broad and far-reaching, and a conviction under this statute can result in years, if not decades, behind bars, plus up to $1 million in fines, a criminal record, and any adverse personal or professional consequences associated with a fraud conviction. If you have been arrested for or charged with wire fraud, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney in your corner who understands the federal criminal justice system and knows what it takes to construct a winning wire fraud defense. You should never leave your freedom and your future up to chance when facing charges for a federal offense like wire fraud. Contact our experienced Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible to begin protecting your rights.
Affordable Wire Fraud Defense Attorney
Wire fraud and other financial crimes can carry lengthy prison terms and exorbitant fines, even for individuals with little to no criminal history, and the personal and professional implications of a wire fraud conviction can be devastating, continuing long after you have served your prison sentence. One important element of proving the federal crime of wire fraud is showing that some form of electronic communication was used in furtherance of the fraud, and considering the frequency with which we use cell phones and email, only in the rarest of cases will the federal government have a hard time proving that electronic communications were used in some way to accomplish an alleged act of fraud. That being said, the government always bears the burden of proof in wire fraud cases, which means you are presumed innocent until the federal prosecutor can prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have been accused of wire fraud, it is imperative that you understand the nature of the charges you are facing and the potential consequences of a conviction, as well as the defenses available to you in fighting these charges. Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have earned a reputation for aggressively defending the rights of the criminally accused, and we will carefully evaluate your criminal case to determine the best defense strategy based on the specific details of your case. We understand that all wire fraud cases are different, with unique circumstances that can influence prosecution and sentencing, and we are committed to giving our clients the personalized attention they deserve. No matter what charges you are facing, we will work tirelessly to help you protect your rights and develop a winning defense in your criminal case. Consult our lawyers as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Federal Wire Fraud
Similar to mail fraud, wire fraud is the crime of making false promises or representations with the intent to defraud another person, but instead of using the United States Postal Service or another mail carrier, wire fraud is accomplished using the Internet, radio, television, or another form of interstate electronic communication. This can include email, phone calls, text messages, fax, video chats or instant messages, or other types of internet communication, any of which may result in wire fraud charges if they are used to perpetrate a fraudulent scheme. The electronic communication involved in a wire fraud crime does not even have to be essential to the fraud, if it occurred in connection with or in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme, it may constitute a federal wire fraud offense. Additionally, the federal government can file federal charges against you even if no one fell for your alleged fraudulent scheme. Simply by making false promises or statements using wire communications, with the intent to defraud another person, you can be charged with and convicted of wire fraud. In many cases, the federal crime of wire fraud is charged in combination with mail fraud, as an “add-on” charge for federal criminal offenses like:
- Healthcare fraud,
- Identity theft,
- Money laundering,
- Credit card fraud,
- Tax fraud or tax evasion, or
Federal Wire Fraud 18 U.S.C. § 1343
The federal statute prohibiting wire fraud is 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and this law broadly makes it a crime to use the phone, Internet, radio, television or any other telecommunications technology to commit or attempt to commit fraud with the specific intent to deprive another person of money or property. More specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 1343 states the following:
“Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses…transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
If you didn’t directly carry out the wire fraud yourself, but helped someone else by making phone calls or sending emails related to the fraud, even if you weren’t entirely sure what the communications were referring to, you could face charges of aiding and abetting fraud. Or, if more than one person was involved in the alleged wire fraud scheme, you could face additional criminal charges for conspiracy to violate the mail fraud or wire fraud statutes, under 18 U.S.C. § 371.
Penalties for a Federal Wire Fraud Conviction
A wire fraud conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 (for individuals) or $500,000 (for organizations). If the alleged fraud scheme involves a financial institution or federal disaster relief funds, the penalties may be increased to up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Many people charged with wire fraud are also charged with mail fraud, in which case each electronic communication or mailing is a separate fraud count subject to individual penalties. If you are charged with mail fraud or another federal crime in combination with wire fraud, you could face additional penalties for multiple convictions, possibly amounting to millions of dollars in fines and imprisonment in federal prison for a de facto life sentence. Also known as a “virtual” life sentence, a de facto life sentence is a non-life sentence that is so long, it is likely the convicted individual will die or live out a significant majority of his or her life before being released from federal prison.
Federal Wire Fraud Defense
Defending yourself against allegations of wire fraud can be a daunting task, especially considering a conviction for wire fraud can result in a lengthy prison sentence and considerable fines, plus other serious consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life. However, it is important to remember that an arrest for wire fraud is not the same thing as a conviction. Just because you have been accused of committing wire fraud does not mean you will be found guilty of any wrongdoing. As is the case in any criminal proceeding, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the federal government bears the burden of proof in your wire fraud case. What that means is, in order to convict you of wire fraud, the federal prosecutor will have to prove the following “elements” of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you intended to defraud someone;
- That you embarked on a scheme to defraud that person; and
- That you intentionally used the Internet, email or any other electronic communication to accomplish the fraud or attempted fraud.
Best Defense Strategies in Federal Wire Fraud Cases
In today’s digital age, when the Internet is used for nearly everything we do, it is common for wire fraud to be attached to indictments for other federal fraud offenses, which is why it is imperative that you have a defense attorney on your side who has a clear understanding of wire fraud law and the defenses available to you when fighting these charges. Some possible defense strategies your attorney may be able to use in court to help you beat wire fraud charges include the following:
- Constructive fraud – If the fraud you committed was constructive (i.e. reckless or negligent, but ultimately unintentional), your attorney may be able to get your case dismissed.
- Lack of intent – If you attempted in good faith to adhere to the law but ended up committing wire fraud by mistake, and therefore lacked the intent to commit the crime of fraud, you would not be criminally liable under federal wire fraud law.
- Lack of purpose – In order for a communication or electronic transmission to fall under the scope of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, it must be sent for the purpose of executing a fraudulent scheme. If your attorney can show that your alleged crime lacked this purpose, you cannot lawfully be convicted of wire fraud.
- Statute of limitations – The statute of limitations for wire fraud is five years. Once the statute of limitations expires, the federal government no longer has the power to prosecute you for wire fraud, even if there is clear evidence of wrongdoing.
- Entrapment – If you were coerced or pressured to commit an act of wire fraud by a representative of the government hoping to make an arrest, you cannot lawfully be found guilty of wire fraud.
- Illegal search and seizure – If the evidence against you was obtained as the result of an illegal search or wiretap, your attorney may be able to get the evidence thrown out.
A skilled criminal defense attorney will know what defense strategies are available to you in fighting allegations of federal wire fraud and which defenses have the best record of success in such cases.
How Hiring a Wire Fraud Defense Attorney Can Help
Wire fraud cases typically involve important financial information and other documents that require expert analysis, and these federal cases therefore tend to be complex, which is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner who can protect your rights, develop an effective defense strategy and represent your interests in court. When you hire our attorneys at Seyb Law Group, we will do everything in our power to challenge the prosecution’s case against you, including initiating an independent investigation of the government’s allegations and interviewing expert witnesses, with the goal of strengthening your position and improving your chances of getting the charges reduced to a lesser offense or possibly even dismissed altogether.
Our federal criminal defense lawyers at Seyb Law Group have a clear understanding of federal wire fraud law and how it applies to your case, and we recognize the fact that a wire fraud conviction and the resulting penalties would be devastating for you and your loved ones. Unfortunately, the federal government has a massive budget and endless resources at its disposal to investigate and prosecute allegations of wire fraud, and it will do so aggressively and to the fullest extent of the law. The sooner you hire a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to represent your criminal case, the better your chances of getting a favorable outcome in court.
Contact Our Skilled Wire Fraud Defense Attorneys Today
The federal government often relies on wire fraud and mail fraud charges to prosecute criminal cases when more specific crimes like healthcare fraud, money laundering or tax fraud/tax evasion do not apply. In some cases, the government will begin investigating allegations of wire fraud, only to file additional charges later on, as it learns more about the case. If you are the target of a wire fraud investigation, do not wait to hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Our legal team at Seyb Law Group has more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we will do everything in our power to help you avoid a federal wire fraud conviction. Contact our law firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation.