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Penalties for Wire Fraud

May 18, 2022

When you’re accused of a crime, especially a federal crime, it can uproot your life and make recovery difficult. Overcoming even your criminal record can be tough, let alone the fines, prison time, and other penalties you may face. 

But how severe are those penalties, and what do you need to know about the charges before your day in court? Check out the details below to prepare yourself for your case. 

Components of Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is a federal criminal offense that may lead to harsh penalties, some of which may impact you for decades. You may be charged if you are found guilty of intentional deception using any form of telecommunication. Penalties for wire fraud are severe, and even if you’ve paid your dues, you may still face issues due to your criminal record. 

Wire fraud is based on two components: wire and fraud. Wire refers to any form of telecommunication like phone, fax, text message, internet, social media, and more. Fraud refers to the deliberate use of deception to get money or any other personal gain from an unsuspecting individual.

A person can be charged with the offense if both components exist. In addition, the following four elements must be proved:

  • The person created a scheme to defraud or participated in such a scheme
  • The person had a deliberate intent to defraud others
  • There was a high likelihood that the person would use wire communications
  • Interstate wire communications were actually used

Wire Fraud Penalties You May Face

With a lawyer, you may have a chance to defend your case and get the penalties for wire fraud reduced or dismissed. But what’s the worst that could happen if you don’t seek a strong defense? The Guidelines Manual of the United States Sentencing Commission defines the penalties for the federal offense of wire fraud and includes the following:

  • A fine of $250,000 for individuals
  • A fine of $500,000 for organizations
  • A prison sentence of up to 20 years
  • Three years of supervised release
  • A prison term of up to 30 years, and a fine of up to $1 million if the fraud involves a financial institution or a presidentially declared major disaster

Other factors are also considered which may mitigate or aggravate the actual penalties. The prosecution can treat each fraudulent call, text message, or communication as a separate instance of fraud. And each instance of fraud can be used to level multiple counts of the charge against the perpetrator.

For instance, if a single offense carries $250,000 and you are charged with three counts, you may face a fine of up to $750,000.

Seek Out a Lawyer When Accused of Fraud 

Wire fraud charges can leave you struggling for years with your recovery, which impacts you and your loved ones. This is why it is critical to get the help of an experienced lawyer as soon as you know about the charges.

Here at Chris Lewis & Associates P.C., we help you prepare a robust defense against wire fraud charges. Contact us today at 214-665-6930 or fill out the following online contact form to discuss your case in detail.


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