Orlando Wire Fraud Defense Attorney
Wire fraud is a “white collar” crime that may not sound very serious; however, the reality is, it is a federal offense that carries the possibility of a lengthy prison term if you are convicted. Since people use electronic forms of communication for just about everything nowadays, wire fraud is a very common federal offense that is often charged in conjunction with other serious federal crimes such as medicare fraud, bank fraud, drug trafficking and money laundering.
The legal team at Dan Eckhart Law has an in-depth understanding of how wire fraud cases evolve and how they are prosecuted. Attorney Dan Eckhart is a former Federal Prosecutor and Special Agent who spent years investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and has the knowledge and experience necessary for defending successfully against wire fraud charges. If you are under investigation or you have been formally charged with wire fraud, let us put our experience and dedication to work protecting your rights and defending against the allegation.
Wire Fraud Charges
Wire fraud is a crime under federal law (18 U.S. Code § 1343), which states, in pertinent part, as follows:
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, representations, or promises, 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. . . .
In essence, wire fraud involves the intentional use of an interstate communication device in a scheme to defraud. A “scheme to defraud” may refer to anything from a Ponzi or pyramid scheme to investment fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, or money laundering.
Given the proliferation of cell phones and computers in the 21st century, all of which by their very nature are involved in interstate commerce, it is difficult to think of any scheme to defraud that would not qualify as wire fraud. In fact, because prosecutors often find it difficult to prove the underlying fraud scheme sufficiently to secure a conviction, they often rely on a wire fraud conviction to put a defendant behind bars.
Potential Penalties for a Wire Fraud Conviction
The penalties for a wire fraud conviction can be very harsh. A single offense carries up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. If the scheme to defraud involved a financial institution or federal disaster relief funds, the potential penalties are increased to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1 million – per offense.
Defending Against Wire Fraud Charges
Every criminal offense includes a “mens rea,” which refers to the defendant’s state of mind at the time the crime was allegedly committed. In the case of wire fraud, prosecutors must prove that you intentionally used an electronic means of communication to carry out a scheme to defraud. Moreover, the prosecution has the burden of proving every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
A common defense strategy, therefore, is based on lack of intent. If the prosecution cannot prove intent on the part of the defendant, the case effectively falls apart. Closely related to lack of intent is lack of purpose. Even if it can be shown that a defendant intended to use an electronic communication device, the defense can still argue that the purpose of the communication was innocuous. In other words, there was no purposeful fraud committed by the defendant.
Yet another defense option that may be available involves the statute of limitations. Most criminal offenses have an applicable statute of limitations, or time frame within which the government must initiate a prosecution. If the government fails to initiate the prosecution within the allotted time, it is forever barred from doing so. In the case of wire fraud, the applicable statute of limitations is five years.
Get Help from an Experienced Orlando Wire Fraud Defense Attorney
If you are facing an investigation and/or prosecution for wire fraud, you need the experience and expertise provided by Dan Eckhart Law. As a former Special Agent and Federal Prosecutor, attorney Dan Eckhart now uses the skills and knowledge learned in those roles to zealously protect and defend clients charged with wire fraud.
The team at Dan Eckhart Law is committed to protecting the rights of the accused at every stage of a criminal investigation and prosecution. If you have reason to believe you are the target of an investigation, do not make the mistake of waiting until charges have been filed. It is in your best interest to consult with our defense team right away so we can work on preventing the situation from escalating.
Call us at 407.276.0500 or use the form on our website to contact us and get started on your defense.