A federal wire fraud charge generally alleges use of a telephone, email or other electronic communication to defraud an individual located in another state. A conviction, however, requires a prosecutor to prove that an individual used interstate communications with the intent to deceive.
After reviewing evidence, a court determines whether a defendant meets the requirements for a wire fraud conviction. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, deception with false pretenses, promises and misrepresentations may result in a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment.
Wire fraud may involve a financial institution
An individual may risk a wire fraud charge when submitting a loan application through a bank’s website. Some applications require uploading documents to verify income, identity or business expenses. As reported by CBS News, if a bank officer suspects falsified documents, an application may receive an approval, but the bank may alert a prosecutor to a possible wire fraud charge.
If a jury finds that a defendant deceived a bank or financial institution, a conviction may result in a sentence up to 30 years. A judge may also impose a fine of up to one million dollars, order a supervised release and require financial restitution.
Combined offenses may require a strong defense
Because a prosecutor has the ability to combine charges, one allegation of fraudulent activity may lead to several felony offenses, such as mail fraud, credit card fraud and bank fraud. Each count, however, may result in a 20-year sentence and a $250,000 fine upon conviction. A defense to counter a prosecutor’s evidence may require proof that an individual did not intend to deceive or use falsified information.