If you commit wire fraud in Texas, you will face federal charges with serious potential consequences.
This is a complicated offense that occurs when a perpetrator intentionally uses a communications device to defraud another’s property or any other thing of value.
Wire fraud makes it a federal offense to use interstate wires – such as a telephone, fax machine, television, radio or another device – as part of a scheme to defraud another person.
As in the similar crime of mail fraud, there must be a material misrepresentation. The perpetrator must have been capable of influencing the decision-maker.
The fact the crime crosses state boundaries makes it a federal offense. It’s broad in definition. A federal prosecutor does not have to prove the defendant knowingly used interstate wires. If you defrauded other people in Texas from Fort Worth, you could be prosecuted for wire fraud if the e-mail server was housed outside Texas.
If you accidentally committed wire fraud, you cannot be convicted of an offense. Federal prosecutors must show that you acted with intent to fraudulently deprive a victim of property, money or something else of value.
If you deliberately make a statement intended to deceive and deprive the victim of value you can commit wire fraud if you conduct business via a communications device. An example would be selling land you don’t own and conducting your business on the telephone or by email.
It’s worth noting that the victim does not have to have suffered a loss.
The wire fraud statute criminalizes people who take part in “scheme to defraud.” You can be convicted of the offense of wire fraud even if no actual loss is suffered by the victim. Attempting to obtain the money, goods or other services is sufficient to be convicted of wire fraud.
Public officials can be convicted of wire fraud if they take part in a scheme that deprives citizens of “honest services.” If an elected official, for example, is involved in a kickback or a bribery scheme, he or she is depriving citizens of ethical services if an interstate communications device is used in the unethical enterprise. Federal investigators don’t have to show actual loss on behalf of the citizens.
Wire fraud charges are often brought at the same time as other white collar charges such as healthcare fraud.
In October, three executives at a Houston physical therapy company were convicted of healthcare fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and wire fraud, reported the Houston Chronicle.
There are defenses to wire fraud such as acting in good faith. If you are charged with this serious white collar crime, you should contact an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Call Gary Medlin at the Medlin Law Firm today for a free consultation at (682) 204-4066.