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How is wire fraud different from standard fraud?

A lot of the elements of wire fraud are also things you'd find in standard fraud cases. For example, the case has to be aimed at tricking someone else into turning over one's money—defrauding them of that money—and there has to be intent to do so at the beginning of the scheme. Fraud is a very deliberate act that is specifically designed to render the end result of the transfer of funds in a dishonest fashion from one party to the other.

Examples of fraud, for instance, include tricking someone into signing a home over into someone else's name, claiming to provide a new mortgage with lower rates, and then taking the home and selling it once the transfer has happened.

Wire fraud has this same end goal and the same sort of intent, but it is done electronically. It gets its name from the past, when wire transfers would often be used to electronically move funds between bank accounts. While wire transfers are still used, the Internet has significantly changed things with online banking, so wire fraud also includes some transfers done in this fashion.

Wire fraud can also be committed using a television or a telephone, depending on the situation.

For those familiar with typical scams—such as asking through email for money to be sent to another country, and promising big returns that never show up—wire fraud can be easy to spot, but many people are drawn in every year. Fraud often targets the elderly, who may not be as familiar with modern scams or online transfers.

Those accused of such crimes have the right to a fair trial in Pennsylvania.

Source: FindLaw, "Wire Fraud," accessed Jan. 07, 2016

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