Mail and wire fraud are charged in many different situations, often in addition to other white collar crime or drug charges. Charges of mail and wire fraud up the stakes, increasing the potential penalties that you face.
Under federal law, wire fraud involves using "interstate wires" to transmit information for the purpose of carrying out a scheme to defraud others. Usually, wire fraud is an issue when people allegedly use technology as part of a scheme to deceive others. The government adds the charge when technology is used to unlawfully obtain money, services, goods or other valuables.
To prove wire fraud, the government must show the following elements:
- There was a scheme to defraud
- The accused knowingly or willingly engaged in the scheme with the intent to defraud
- The accused used wire communication methods in the scheme
Usually, wire fraud is an issue when people allegedly use technology as part of a scheme to deceive others. The government adds the charge when technology is used to unlawfully obtain money, services, goods or other valuables.
Wire fraud may be allegedly committed in many different ways, including:
- Internet, including email, websites, and instant messaging
- Telephone, including text messages on a cell phone
- Television, including television advertising
- Fax machine
- Any other electronic transmission
Common Wire Fraud Schemes
Some of the most common examples of wire fraud can include:
- Unsolicited phishing emails that ask for personal and financial information
- Text messages claiming you've won a prize and need to send over your bank account information to claim it
- Telemarketing fraud, which may ask for a Social Security number or bank account information over the phone
- Using an advertisement online to entice customers into a Ponzi scheme
Penalties for Wire Fraud
The penalties for wire fraud may include up to 20 years in prison, along with fines. If a financial institution is affected or targeted, the penalties may increase to up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
Mail fraud can be charged as a federal offense because it typically involves the United States Postal Service. However, it has also expanded to include other interstate carrier services including Fedex and UPS. To be charged with mail fraud, it must be proved that you were involved in a scheme to defraud and used a mail carrier to further that scheme.
Mail fraud charges are often brought against alleged drug dealers who send controlled substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin through the mail. In the United States, federal postal inspectors can obtain search warrants to open suspicious packages and inspect the contents. Often, these packages are repackaged and delivered to the intended recipient – along with a team of DEA agents or other law enforcement officials.
The Consequences of Mail and Wire Fraud Charges in Arizona
The repercussions of a wire or mail fraud charge or conviction may haunt you for life. You may face up to three decades in prison for a conviction of this kind. Even if you do not receive the maximum sentence, you still may face a ruined reputation and career, difficulty getting employment, and lost financial and housing opportunities.
Involving an attorney as soon as possible may be essential to the outcome of your case, particularly if your attorney is able to launch a pre-file investigation and work to counter the federal investigation against you.
Discuss Your Charges with Suzuki Law Offices
If you or someone you know has been accused of mail or wire fraud, it is critical to take legal action as soon as possible. Seek advice from a Phoenix fraud lawyer who can defend your rights and help you avoid a conviction and harsh penalties. At Suzuki Law Offices, we can help. Our skilled attorneys are former prosecutors who use in-depth knowledge to achieve the favorable results for people who have been accused of white collar crimes.
Our Phoenix criminal lawyers do everything in our power to reduce the consequences of a white collar crime arrest. We work with you to help you get back home, spend time with your family and get the right treatment necessary so that you fully comply with court orders.
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