Like most people in Pennsylvania, you likely never anticipate criminal charges (much less federal charges). This is the very reason why you facing accusations of something as seemingly serious as wire fraud comes as such as shock (just as it was for many of our past clients here at the Law Offices of Joseph Lesniak, LLC).
Federal charges seem to be much more serious than local crimes, yet their very nature may make it more likely that you face a federal charge than a more well-known state offense. Actions such as theft and assault seem to cut-and-dry; an alleged incident of wire fraud, however, might often seem little different than a regular business transaction.
Defining wire fraud
Indeed, you may believe that the actions that resulted in you facing a wire fraud accusation were perfectly legitimate. Wire fraud references any fraudulent activity conducted via the phone or electronic communications (in this context, “electronic communications” can include email and instant messaging). Given how telecommunications has opened up the global marketplace, you may conduct transactions across state lines (which would place offenses related to them under federal jurisdiction). Thus, your business interactions could lead to allegations of wire fraud.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the following elements prove wire fraud:
- That a scheme occurred intended to defraud others
- That you indeed intended to commit fraud
- That it was reasonably foreseeable that the scheme would require the use of wire communications
- That you employed wire communications in employing the scheme
The requirement that you demonstrate intent to commit fraud differentiates it from business transactions that simply produce unfavorable results. Thus, if you can show you acted in good faith, you may successfully answer to accusations of fraud.
You can find more information on facing federal charges throughout our site.