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Wire fraud: when you cross the crime of fraud with the Internet

The Internet has made a tremendous impact in many different fields. Communication, legal and marketing fields are able to conduct research through online methods. With e-commerce, even a small business can make a big impact, reaching customers far beyond its local boundaries.

Yet not all developments brought about by the Internet have been positive. For example, when criminal intent is applied to electronic communications, one result can be the crime of wire fraud. As with traditional fraud, a scheme to defraud a victim from his or her money is present, except that the execution relies on interstate wire communications. Examples include telemarketing fraud, phishing scams, or other schemes that attempt to gain an individual’s personal financial information in order to gain access to credit card or bank accounts.

Fraud allegations may implicate both state and federal charges, with serious penalties including prison time and fines. Accordingly, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after being charged with this offense. Since prosecutors generally must prove that an individual intentionally misrepresented facts by his or her words or conduct, a lot of weight rests on the factual evidence. An attorney can get to work right away building a strong criminal defense to wire fraud charges.

In a recent example, a former sheriff’s deputy was indicted on nine counts of wire fraud, as well as an additional count of theft involving federally funded programs. The deputy allegedly participated in an overbilling and kickback scheme against the Vigo County School Corp. Over a period of nearly two years, the deputy allegedly cheated the school corporation offices out of more than $80,000. Whether the prosecution will be able to meet its burden of proof in this case remains to be seen.

Source: News and Tribune, “Shahadey to appear in federal court Tuesday in Indianapolis,” Dec. 19, 2016

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