Wire fraud is a type of financial fraud that involves the use of electronic communications to deceive, misrepresent, or conceal information for personal gain. Federal wire fraud is a serious criminal offense that carries severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and long-term consequences on future job opportunities and reputation. If you are faced with federal wire fraud charges, it is essential that you get proper legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected and that you understand your options.
Legal counsel plays a critical role in defending against federal wire fraud charges. An experienced attorney can help review the evidence and determine if there is any mitigating information or defenses available. A good lawyer will also be able to identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and develop a strategy that could help reduce or eliminate penalties.
Understanding the Different Types of Fraud
Wire fraud is a serious federal criminal offense that occurs when an individual uses electronic communications, such as phone, email, or the internet, to defraud victims of money or property. Fraudulent schemes can take many forms, and when they involve electronic communications, they can be charged as wire fraud.
One of the most common types of fraud that can lead to wire fraud charges is investment fraud. It can take the form of Ponzi and pyramid schemes, where individuals are promised high returns on investments, but in reality, the returns are paid out using the principal amounts invested by new investors. Other investment frauds include manipulating the prices of stocks, commodities, etc. In such schemes, the fraudsters use electronic communications, such as emails, texts, or phone calls, to attract victims, provide false information, and launder the invested funds.
Healthcare fraud is a type of fraud that can result in federal wire fraud charges. It occurs when individuals or organizations defraud Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies. Healthcare fraud schemes often involve kickbacks, overbilling, and billing for services that were not provided. They can also include the intentional misuse of patient information, such as billing for services that were medically unnecessary.
Bank fraud is another type of fraud that can result in wire fraud charges. It often involves intentionally deceiving financial institutions or defrauding customers. Examples of bank fraud include forging checks, identity theft, and embezzlement.
Federal Wire Fraud Penalties
If convicted of wire fraud, one can face serious criminal charges, including fines and imprisonment. The maximum sentence for wire fraud is up to 20 years in prison. In certain situations, the government can charge a wire fraud that calls for up to 30 years in prison. Additionally, individuals may face civil penalties, including fines, and may be held liable for any damages related to their fraudulent actions. The impact on future job opportunities and reputation can also be significant, as wire fraud convictions are public records and can be easily found by potential employers or clients.
Building a Strong Defense Against Wire Fraud: A Case Study
Facing federal wire fraud charges can be a daunting experience. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, it is possible to construct an effective defense strategy that can mitigate or even dismiss the charges. At the Law Offices of Horwitz & Citro, P.A., we understand the complex nature of federal wire fraud cases and have successfully defended clients against such charges.
In one case, our client - a former military officer who had served in the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Department of Defense - was accused of committing a scheme to defraud the United States government by steering lucrative contracts to his former commanding officer for a kickback. A judge once said that a prosecutor could persuade grand juries to “indict a ham sandwich.” The sealed indictment further alleged that he used his spouse to cover the illegal payments. The indictment was returned less than one week before the statute of limitations expired, years after he cooperated with federal investigators and provided agents with evidence that the fraud allegations were meritless.
We were retained after the client was arrested and first appeared in federal court. Our client was facing a substantial jail sentence of convicted. After reviewing the discovery, we developed a multi-faceted defense to the case. We identified a series of lies the government informant had told agents, as well as the performance review the informant wrote about our client, wherein our client was praised for being what the public wants of public servants. We also determined that the government had indicted our client in the wrong venue. While it was convenient for the federal prosecutors and agents, it was not where the case should have been filed.
While fighting the venue issue, we notified the Court and government that our client's wife was suffering from a debilitating and terminal illness. Due to the inept criminal investigation and the condition of a critical defense witness, in a motion we described the government’s approach to prosecuting our client as casual, even perfunctory, rather than diligent. The government failed to bring our client to trial within the time Congress set for criminal trials to take place. Given the totality of the government’s shortcomings in the investigation and prosecution, we filed a motion to dismiss the indictment with prejudice – meaning charges can never be refiled against our client.
Defending white collar cases can be complex, but the basics should never be overlooked. While some may unfortunately see this as our client prevailing on a “technicality,” we understand that those technicalities are rights society afforded to those the government believes should lose their liberties. While the government has immense power and the criminal justice system is weighted to ensure it prevails, ensuring all a person's rights are respected falls to defense counsel. If you are facing white collar criminal charges like federal wire fraud, it is important that you seek legal counsel that will vigorously protect and defend all your rights.
At the Law Offices of Horwitz & Citro, P.A., we have represented numerous clients facing federal wire fraud charges and have successfully defended them against such charges. Our attorneys have the experience and expertise to review the evidence, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and construct a defense that is tailored to meet your specific needs. Contact us online or call us at (407) 901-5852 to discuss your options and learn how we can help you fight back.