Wire fraud exists as one of many white collar crimes that have surprisingly large penalties. Those accused of engaging and convicted of criminal activity might face stiffer repercussions than they expected.
In order to understand the penalties associated with wire fraud, it is important to understand how wire fraud itself gets defined.
Mail and wire fraud
The U.S. Department of Justice discusses wire fraud and its related penalties. Wire fraud falls under the same umbrella as mail fraud, but they exist as two separate charges for distinct reasons.
Mail fraud involves the use of mail specifically to further fraudulent schemes. Wire fraud, on the other hand, refers to essentially any electric signal that furthers a fraudulent scheme. Wire fraud may happen via telephone, email, message board, text message, fax, radio signal and more.
The crime of wire fraud involves engaging a person or people in a scheme that intends to separate them from their money, assets or rightful access to services.
The penalties of wire fraud
Someone convicted of wire fraud could face up to 20 years in jail, along with a $500,000 fine. For those who target financial institutions or attempt to take advantage of natural disasters, the penalties worsen and can result in the convicted individual owing up to $1 million in fines and potentially more in damages.
Needless to say, this is a hefty amount of money to lose and a long time to potentially spend in jail. This is why anyone facing wire fraud charges may want to tackle the charges as an extremely serious matter from the start.