Facing wire fraud charges can be terrifying because the mere allegations have the potential to damage a person’s career and reputation. Even though wire fraud is a white-collar crime, it doesn’t mean the penalties are any less harsh than those for blue-collar and violent crimes. Being convicted of wire fraud can result in up to 20 years and fines of up to $250,000. There’s an additional sentence of 30 years imprisonment and a million-dollar fine if the wire fraud is related to presidentially declared major disasters or involves a financial institution.
The effects of wire fraud allegations and charges can be long-lasting, even without a conviction. The best way to ensure a successful resolution that minimizes the negative impacts on your career and reputation is to contact an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. At John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, we are familiar with the complexities of wire fraud cases and help you find a solution that protects your best interests. Protect your rights and freedom by contacting us today.
5 Possible Defenses Against Federal Wire Fraud Charges
Wire fraud charges usually arise after allegations are made that someone lied to cheat someone out of their money. The key legal element is that the alleged offender made a false representation or promise with a clear intent to defraud someone through wire communication. The government may convict someone of wire fraud even if no one falls for the fraudulent scheme because the critical element in these cases is “the intent to defraud.” The issue is not whether or not the money was taken but whether they tried to take someone else’s money through false promises and statements. There are several valid defenses to these charges, but some of the most common ones are:
1. There was no Fraudulent Intent
A person can’t be convicted of wire fraud simply because they lied in a message they sent to someone. Rather, the person must make a false statement with the intent to deceive someone out of their money or property.
2. The Statements Made were not “Knowingly False”
Even if the prosecution is able to prove the statement or promises made are false, the defendant can only be convicted if they were aware that the information was false. If the person was unaware that the statements were false, then they did not “knowingly” deceive someone. This defense is referred to as “good faith,” which exists when a person makes a false representation or promise without knowing it’s untrue.
3. The False Promise or Misrepresentation was not Material
The prosecution must prove that the person’s false promises and misrepresentations in a fraud offense were material. A material statement is a type of statement that people rely on, as opposed to trivial statements. In fraud cases, material misrepresentations are false statements that involve information likely to cheat or trick someone.
4. The Use of Wire Communication was not Related to the Fraudulent Scheme
A valid defense in wire fraud cases can consist of proving that even if the fraud was committed, it wasn’t done in connection with wire communication. The prosecution doesn’t need to prove that wire communication was used. They need to prove it was used to further the fraudulent scheme. A defense attorney can challenge that claim by proving the defendant did not use the wire communication to further the scheme.
5. The Prosecution Obtained the Evidence Illegally
Evidence in fraud cases often consists of communications and financial information obtained from government searches and wiretaps. The government must first obtain the necessary authorizing orders to conduct these searches and wiretaps before collecting the evidence. A person charged with wire fraud can have the evidence suppressed if their constitutional rights are violated. For instance, if the investigation violated the defendant’s right to be protected against unreasonable seizures and searches.
Contact Our Experienced Federal Wire Fraud Defense Attorney
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential if you’re facing federal wire fraud charges. Even if you believe you’re guilty, there are still defenses that can have your charges reduced or dismissed. You’ll need an attorney who understands what it takes to stand up against federal prosecutions and can aggressively defend and protect your rights.
John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm is dedicated to defending our client’s rights. Our criminal defense attorney Eric Johnson has years of experience negotiating with federal prosecutors. He knows how to use the full extent of his legal expertise, resources, and professional relationships to fight the charges against you. Call (318) 377-1555 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.