Understanding The Basics of Wire Fraud
Mobile phones and computers provide individuals with a great way to send information across state lines. Whether it’s an email, text message, or any other form of communication, they will surely utilize state lines. While most communication tools have made it easier for people to communicate with each other, the lines of communication have also become an avenue for committing crimes such as wire fraud. In this article, we shall understand the basics of wire fraud.
Wire fraud is any action that is intended to defraud others of their money or property. These acts utilize an electric form of media to initiate the plan. Most wire fraud cases are prosecuted under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO). These actions consist of three major elements that needs to be proven in court:
- A “scheme or artifice to defraud” or otherwise obtaining property by fraud
- Use of mail or any wire communication to get the scheme in motion
As it involves the use of communication that crosses state lines, all cases of wire fraud are prosecuted under Federal laws. The penalties for wire fraud are dependent upon the aggravating factors. It is worth noting that the penalties for mail and wire fraud can be quite severe. It carries a jail sentence of up to 20 or 30 years, excessive fines, or both. If RICO is applied on the case, any property used by the defendant in committing the crime shall be seized by the government. To determine the fine, the court will look at the amount of the original fraud and the value of the material gains, if any, resulting from the fraud.
Just like any case, wire fraud needs to be filed within the statute of limitations. The defendant cannot be prosecuted, brought to trial, or made to pay punitive damages unless they are indicted within five years.