Wire fraud is the using electronic communication like email, radio, social media, text message, phone, television, or fax to deceive someone for a profit. The offense may entail withholding information or representing facts wrongly.

Wire fraud occurs in various industries like real estate, insurance, and finance and is punishable by fines or prison.
If you’re facing wire fraud charges, you need the help of skilled criminal defense attorneys in South Florida. They can provide the legal representation you need to prove your innocence and have the charges reduced or dropped.

What is the Difference Between Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud?

Wire fraud is a method of obtaining money by false pretense. On the contrary, bank fraud describes the target of fraudulent activities, mainly financial institutions. Wire fraud targeting individuals attracts an imprisonment term of 20 years, while targeting a financial institution attracts a 30-year jail term.

Types of Wire Fraud

Some common fraud-related scams to look out for include:

  • Advance-fee scams: The perpetrator uses email to defraud an unsuspecting victim. They promise to pay handsomely for some favor as long as the victim first wires them some advance fee.
  • Phishing: The perpetrator sends emails as baits for the recipient to reveal their private information. For example, an email notifies the recipient that their account password has expired and they need to reset it through a website that resembles the recipient’s bank website, which enables the scammer to steal the passwords to the genuine site.
  • Hiring scams: These usually target job seekers, with the scammers reaching out to them with high-paying positions. The scammers ask the applicants to send application processing fees and may also steal private information like SSN and birthdays.

What Are the Penalties for Wire Fraud?

A wire fraud conviction carries with it potentially steep jail sentences, fines, and other severe consequences. Businesses affected by wire fraud could face severe backlash and damage to their reputation. If you’re accused of or charged with wire fraud, bank fraud lawyers in Miami can help you understand your risks and the legal options available.

Since telecommunication is an instrument of interstate commerce, just like mail, a wire fraud crime can be charged at the federal level, meaning it’s a federal crime. When you’re convicted, you could be sent to federal prison rather than a state prison.

Punishments for wire fraud include:

  • A hefty fine of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations
  • A maximum of 20 years in federal prison
  • If the fraud led to a federal disaster or involved a financial institute, you could end up in federal prison for up to 30 years.

Spending your life behind bars can adversely affect your life, reputation, ability to get employed, and relationships. It would be best to fight aggressively in court to prevent this from happening. Miami bank fraud attorneys can defend you in court to protect your rights and prevent you from landing in jail.

What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove in a Wire Fraud Case?

The wire fraud statute by the U.S Department of Justice cites that these four elements must exist for an offense to qualify as wire fraud:

  • The accused created or took part in a plan to defraud another of their money or property
  • The accused acted with the intention to defraud 
  • There was a rational reason to believe that the accused would use wire communications 
  • The accused, in fact, used interstate wire communications 

Skilled and experienced Miami bank fraud attorneys can challenge these elements in court. If the prosecution cannot fulfill the burden of proof, you could have a favorable outcome in the charges.

What Are the Potential Defenses for Wire Fraud?

Given that the penalties of a wire fraud case are often severe, your bank fraud attorney in Florida can help you create a strong defense to help your case. Lawyers have had significant success in overcoming wire fraud allegations using the following defenses:

Constructive Fraud

Since the prosecution must provide evidence that the accused devised or intended to create a plan to defraud, a skilled attorney can demonstrate that you weren’t constructively engaged in fraud. That is the case of constructive fraud and can be a complete and strong defense against federal wire fraud accusations if used correctly.

Lack of Intent

A common defense strategy in fraud cases is lack of intent, also known as good faith. For example, if you used someone else’s insurance card, you could be charged with fraud. However, if you argue it wasn’t intentional, the courts may absolve you of fraud liability.

Mistake or Lack of Purpose

Your lawyer could fight to show that you were mistaken about the key facts when you got involved in the fraudulent activity. For example, if you helped your friend to conduct business that you believed to be genuine only to find out later that it wasn’t, the court may not charge you with fraud.

Since the wire fraud statute demands the prosecution to prove that you did the business “for the purpose” of defrauding the customers, you could have the charges dropped if you can prove that you lacked this purpose.

Statute of Limitations

If the prosecution fails to adhere to the statute of limitations when filing the charges, you can use this to your advantage. The statute of limitations for wire fraud charges is five years, and that for bank fraud is ten years.

Whatever defense you intend to use, it’s crucial to have skilled and experienced Miami bank fraud attorneys representing you. They know how the court system works and what they can do to enhance the chances of a favorable outcome.

A Committed Criminal Defense Lawyer Ready to Fight for Your Freedom

The consequences of wire fraud in Florida are steep and can affect you in life-changing ways. A conviction can see you spend decades in prison or serve a life sentence if convicted of related offenses. You should consult experienced and top-rated criminal defense lawyers in South Florida to fight for your rights.

Our law firm has a reputation for being committed to protecting the rights of individuals charged with various criminal activities. We understand how scary it can be to be arraigned in court or sent to jail, and that’s why we work so hard to advocate for clients’ rights from start to finish. Contact us to schedule a FREE case assessment.