Understanding federal wire fraud charges

Wire fraud is one of the most common federal charges in the U.S. This is largely because this offense is so easy to commit that you may not realize you are doing so. The “wire” is any form of telecommunication. This can be over the phone or via fax, text message, radio, TV, or social media. It can even occur during the course of a Zoom conference.

Wire fraud is considered a federal crime

The act of wire fraud is one that can result in federal charges. This is because telecommunications are considered to be an area that is judged under the umbrella of interstate commerce. As a result, it will most often be the subject of an investigation by the FBI or FTC. However, this does not mean that you will only face federal charges. There are also state laws that you may also be charged under.

Penalties for wire fraud include the following:

  • A fine of up to $250,000 for an individual
  • A fine of up to $500,000 for an organization
  • A prison term of not more than 20 years
  • A prison term of 30 years and a fine of $1,000,000 if the fraud is related to a financial institution or a national disaster that the President has declared

Wire fraud is prevalent but preventable

The penalties for mail fraud and wire fraud are severe due to their prevalence. However, it is also the type of crime that you can take steps to avoid accidentally committing.

The main way to avoid committing this act is to be clear and upfront regarding your intentions with each sales call that you make. Explain your intentions clearly so that there is no chance for the purpose to be misunderstood.