Is Wire Fraud a Felony?Federal wire fraud is a serious crime for businesses, government contractors and individuals that fall under white-collar offenses. This crime involved the use of electronic communications such as faxes, phone calls or emails, to defraud the government out of money (government contracts) or something of value. The penalties for federal wire fraud schemes can be severe and have long-lasting consequences on a criminal defendant.

Wire fraud is considered a felony in the United States. A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor and carries harsher penalties, such as imprisonment for more than one year. The severity of federal wire fraud charges is due to the impact it can have on individuals, businesses, and government contractors as a whole.

Government contractors are often charged with  fraud by wire due to their access to sensitive information, falsely certifying and using electronic communications to further fraudulent schemes. Wire fraud defendants may be accused of using their position to take advantage of the government or to defraud taxpayers. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and other federal law enforcement agencies take these cases seriously and will aggressively prosecute those accused of federal wire fraud.

When facing federal wire fraud charges, it is essential to seek the help of experienced government contractor federal wire fraud defense attorneys. These legal professionals deeply understand the complex laws surrounding wire fraud schemes and can build a strong defense to protect your rights and interests. Wire fraud defense attorneys can also negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to potentially reduce charges or penalties.

Wire Fraud Legal Defenses

Some of the common legal defenses against federal wire fraud charges include lack of intent, entrapment, and mistake. Government contractors or corporate CEOs facing a government contract fraud case can develop solid legal defenses if the facts warrant for:

  • Constructive Fraud – Since the wire fraud statute, 18 USC 1343 requires evidence that defendants in government contract fraud cases either devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud the U.S. government, demonstrating that you did not intentionally engage in fraudulent activity (which is referred to as “constructive fraud”) can be a complete defense to federal wire fraud allegations.
  • Good Faith (Lack of Intent) – Similar to constructive fraud, the good-faith defense focuses on challenging the government’s evidence and inserts reasonable doubt that you intended to commit fraud or engage in a fraudulent artifice or scheme.
  • Lack of Authority – If a contractor employee engages in fraudulent conduct without company authorization, this can provide a complete defense to wire federal fraud charges at the corporate, executive, and ownership levels.
  • Lack of Purpose – The federal wire fraud statute 18 USC 1343 rrequires evidence that the communications in question were sent “for the purpose” of perpetrating a fraudulent artifice or scheme against the government. However, if your wire fraud defense attorney can prove that you lacked this purpose (or if federal prosecutors cannot prove this purpose), then a wire fraud conviction is unwarranted.
  • Statute of Limitations – If the statute of limitations for prosecuting federal wire fraud charges based on the underlying fraud allegations has expired, then you cannot be prosecuted

If you need legal defense counsel in a federal wire fraud case, give us a call at 1.866.601.5518 to minimize your chances of being convicted of a felony.