What Is Wire Fraud?
According to federal law, wire fraud is a criminal offense that involves “a scheme to deprive of property through use of interstate telephone calls or electronic communication, including the internet, wire transfers, and even the use of television and radio.” This language is intentionally broad, as the offense of wire fraud is intended to cover a wide range of fraudulent conduct.
Most of the time, wire fraud charges are prosecuted by the federal government. However, there are also potential state level offenses related to fraud. If you have been accused of wire fraud, it is imperative that you seek out legal counsel right away. Contact the attorneys of Gerald Miller about a free consultation today.
Understanding Wire Fraud in Minnesota
Wire fraud is one of the many forms of fraud that are prosecuted by state and federal officials. In general, fraud is any deliberate act intended to obtain an unauthorized benefit from another person. This benefit could include money, property, or information.
Each individual fraud charge varies depending on the way the unauthorized benefit is obtained. In wire fraud, these charges focus on communications that occur through some form of wired communication. Historically, this type of fraud involved the use of phone lines. Over time, most of these offenses became centered on electronic communication.
Wire fraud can take many forms. It can involve fraudulent offers submitted via e-mail or fax. It can involve the fraudulent use of credit card information via wired communication. These offenses could also involve fraudulent eBay accounts, e-mail Ponzi schemes, or other forms of identity theft.
Fraud Under Minnesota State Law
Minnesota does not have a statute that is specifically related to wire fraud. However, the state does have a general statute that applies to fraud in general. In Minnesota, fraud charges are governed by Minnesota Statutes Section 268.182. This statute applies to any person that obtains or attempts to obtain an unauthorized benefit using some form of misrepresentation or false statement.
State fraud charges apply not only when a fraud attempt was successful, but also in situations where it was merely attempted. The statute also does not make a distinction between individuals that spearhead these efforts or merely aid and abet an effort to defraud another person.
A fraud offense could involve intentionally concealing a material fact or impersonating another individual in an effort to defraud a third party. The penalties associated with fraud offenses depend on the value of the benefit taken. In cases involving a benefit worth $500 or less, a fraud charge is considered a misdemeanor. Fraud involving a benefit of more than $500 is considered a felony.
Federal Wire Fraud
Most cases of wire fraud are prosecuted on the federal level. This is done for one important reason: most wire fraud occurs over state lines. Ultimately, the federal government may pursue charges against anyone that relies on devices that are capable of interstate communication. Given the scale of most fraudulent efforts, federal prosecutors often aggressively pursue these cases.
Under federal law, any scheme to obtain money or property through the use of false statements transmitted using wired interstate communication is viable. These false statements could include fraudulent representations of a material fact, impersonation of another individual, or false pretenses.
Wired interstate communication also covers a broad range of behavior. Examples include the use of radio, television, or electronic communications across state or international borders.
The penalties for federal wire fraud are steep. If you are convicted, this felony offense could result in a prison term of up to 20 years. The fines that come with a wire fraud conviction are also significant.
Discuss Fraud Allegations with a Minneapolis Lawyer
If you are accused of wire fraud, you should avoid delay in discussing your options with a skilled attorney. By aggressively fighting back against these charges, you could avoid a conviction and the serious consequences that come with it.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand how to face down state and federal prosecutors. Our team has extensive experience defending allegations of fraud, and we look forward to the chance to apply that experience in your case. To get started, schedule your free consultation with Gerald Miller as soon as possible.