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Louisiana Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers
Louisiana Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers
Louisiana Wire Fraud Defense Attorneys
While white-collar crimes may not seem like a serious charge but if convicted, the penalties and fines can be quite harsh, not to mention the damage done to your career and reputation. Even being accused of a white-collar crime can devastate your professional representation, which can be challenging to come back from. Facing a wire fraud charge is not something to take lightly, and the best chance for a successful resolution is to contact a Louisiana wire fraud defense attorney as soon as possible.
At John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, our criminal defense attorney Eric Johnson has over two decades of experience and understands the circumstances surrounding your case. He knows what you will likely face if convicted and will work with you to find a resolution that best suits your needs.
What is Wire Fraud, and is it a State or Federal Crime?
Wire fraud is a federal criminal offense that involves schemes to defraud another person using electronic communication, either across state lines or internationally. The federal wire fraud statute specifies that the crime is committed through wire, radio, and television communication and can include many fraud offenses involving computers and the internet.
The Different Elements of Wire Fraud
Different federal courts have developed varying lists of elements that the prosecution must prove to obtain a conviction for wire fraud, but they have similar elements. To obtain a wire fraud conviction, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant took part in a scheme to defraud another person (like obtaining money or something else of value through false pretenses)
- The defendant acted knowingly or with intent to defraud
- The defendant made false representations that were material to scheme or defraud
- The defendant transmitted material that is a misrepresentation by wire, radio, or television communications in interstate or foreign commerce
A person may be convicted of wire fraud even if they never actually defrauded anyone. The accused may also be convicted even if they did not personally send the fraudulent wire or radio or television transmission. The burden of proof that falls on the prosecution is to prove that defendant intended to defraud someone or knowingly used wire communications to transmit fraudulent information. It is sufficient for the state to prove that the defendant caused the use of a wire to transmit to commit or further the fraudulent scheme, even if the defendant did not intend the specific transmission if the act was reasonably foreseeable “in the ordinary course of business.”
What Types of Communications and Activities Constitute Wire Fraud?
The word wire encompasses the use of a phone, the internet, and the incorporation of any signs, signals, pictures, sounds, and writings that has been interpreted to cover all forms of cellular, digital, telephonic, and online communications. Within the context of a federal fraud investigation that following types of wire communications may be considered wire fraud:
- Text messages, phone calls, email, and other forms of communication between alleged co-conspirators
- Fraudulent communications used to collect financial and personal information
- Spam, telemarketing, phone calls, text messages, and phishing emails
- Fraudulent and falsified invoices
- Fraudulent billings under federal government benefit programs and federal government contracts
- Website, social media, and other media misrepresenting the nature or quality of services, products, or securities
- Online auctions, sells, or other transactions in which the terms of agreement were not fulfilled
- Fraudulent sweepstakes and lotteries conducted over the phone or internet
- Sending a fax that furthers a scheme to defraud
- Initiating or causing someone else to initiate a wire transfer of money that’s connected to a scheme to defraud
Terms such as “scheme” and “artifice” don’t have a clear definition and are open to broad interpretation that includes acts of false pretenses, embezzlement, and other forms of wrongdoing that result in the deprivation of government or private property.
Potential Defenses to Allegations of Federal Wire Fraud
Given the broadness of the wire fraud federal statute, there is a wide range of scenarios in which the statute may apply, which can make building a defense against wire fraud allegations a challenge. However, there are effective defenses that can overcome wire fraud allegations, such as:
The federal statute detailing wire fraud states that the prosecution must present evidence that the defendant either devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud. A Louisiana wire fraud defense attorney can counter this claim but demonstrate that you did not intentionally engage in fraudulent activity—this is known as constructive fraud.
Good Faith or Lack of Intent
The good faith defense focuses on challenging the claim made by the prosecution that you intended to engage in fraudulent artifice or schemes. The defense must prove that there was no intentionality behind the action that resulted in wire fraud or may have resulted in wire fraud.
Lack of Authority
If the fraudulent activity is conducted without high authorization within a company or organization, then those in the corporate, executive, and ownership levels may be free of all allegations as they did not conduct the illegal activity or condone it.
Lack of Purpose
The prosecution must demonstrate that the communication in question was sent with the purpose of perpetrating a fraudulent artifice or scheme to obtain a wire fraud conviction. A Louisiana wire fraud defense attorney can challenge the notion that the communication was done with the purpose of making the wire fraud conviction unwarranted.
Contact a Louisiana Wire Fraud Defense Lawyer Today
Wire fraud is a federal crime, which means if you’re faced with allegations, you are up against the government in court and severe penalties. If convicted, you may face several years in federal prison and find your career and reputation permanently damaged. When you’re up against such odds, it’s crucial to have a trusted and experienced Louisiana wire fraud defense attorney at your side.
Attorney Eric Johnson of John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm has years of experience negotiating with federal prosecutors. He will utilize the full extent of his legal support system and resources to fight the charges against you. Schedule a consultation today by completing our online contact form or calling (318) 377-1555.