Elements of Wire Fraud

Like any white collar crime, wire fraud should be taken seriously. Wire fraud involves the same elements of any other fraud, with the inclusion of the use of electronic media. Wire fraud is a federal offense and therefore is investigated by the federal government. Cases of wire fraud are usually carefully and heavily investigated. According to the Horst Law Firm, federal prosecutors take an aggressive stance toward anyone they suspect of attempting to commit fraud in order to maintain the legitimacy of the marketplace. All of these factors mean that wire fraud accusations should be taken seriously.

The United States Department of Justice outlines the elements of wire fraud. The first element of any fraud is the intent to deceive. This deception involves the defendant participating in a scheme with the intention of earning money. Intent is an important part of any fraud that must be proven by the federal prosecutors. In the case of wire fraud, the accused must not only have intended to defraud another party, but it must have been reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used to enact the scheme. Interstate wire communications could include telephone calls, fax machines, television, or even the Internet. Finally, the prosecutors must prove that the defendant used wire communications in the course of the fraud.

Wire fraud schemes can take many forms. A common example of wire fraud that uses the telephone is a telemarketing fraud. A telemarketing fraud is a fairly simple scheme that involves someone calling a target, making a false statement, and then misrepresenting his or herself in order to deceive the target. Some common forms of this scheme include the caller pretending to be a company requesting access to the target’s computer in order to fix a pretend virus. The general goal of all telemarketing schemes is to discover the target’s personal information in order to gain access to his or her bank account. The Nigerian Prince scam is possibly the most infamous example of this type of scam and involves the use of email rather than the telephone. Although there are many variations on wire scams, most of them attempt to discover a person’s personal information and all of them intend to defraud targets out of money.

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