Understanding the Charges of Bank Transfer Fraud and Scams
Definition of Wire Transfer Fraud
In 2012, more than $600 trillion of money was moved via wire transfer. There are more than 130 million wire transfers that take place each year. While most of these transfers are completed with no issue, the U.S. government considers some of the transactions that take place to be fraudulent. In fact, as many as 60 percent of all fraud attempts in the United States reportedly feature a wire transfer.
Wire transfer fraud is a federal offense. In fact, you may face multiple federal charges if you have been accused of involvement in a wire transfer scam.
An experienced wire transfer attorney can provide legal advice and assistance with accusations of wire transfer fraud so you can attempt to avoid the serious penalties that can go along with this offense.
Laws Prohibiting Bank Wire Transfer Fraud
Wire transfer fraud is considered a type of wire fraud. 18 U.S. Code Section 1343 defines wire fraud as using wire, radio, or television communications as part of a scheme or artifice to defraud. Scheme has been interpreted broadly and wire fraud laws apply to many different situations in which you are accused of fraud involving wiring money. For example:
- Using false pretenses to coerce someone to send a wire transfer is just one of many examples of wire fraud. Claiming that someone’s family member is in trouble and money must be wired immediately to provide assistance can lead to wire fraud charges.
- Obtaining bank account information and wiring funds without the account owners permission is also an example of prohibited bank transfer fraud. Obtaining bank account information to institute fraudulent wire transfers may be done through phishing, hacking, or using a variety of online and offline methods.
Because wire fraud generally involves an attempt to defraud a financial institution or to unlawfully obtain money from a financial institution using false pretenses, misrepresentations, or false promises, you may also be charged with bank fraud as defined by 18 U.S. Code Section 1344. You may also be charged with additional fraud offenses depending upon the methods used to obtain bank account information or to initiate the transfer of money using wires. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
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Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
In 2014, the Supreme Court clarified in Laughlin v. United States that no specific attempt to defraud a bank is necessary to be charged with bank fraud. As long as one objective of your wire transfer scheme involved obtaining funds held by a bank and/or the scheme would naturally result in false information being disseminated to a financial institution, you can be charged with this offense.
Defenses to Wire Transfer Fraud: How to Avoid Conviction?
Wire fraud can result in 30 years of incarceration when the purpose of the wire fraud is to defraud a financial institution. Bank fraud is also a serious federal offense that carries a penalty of up to 30 years with conviction. It is imperative you establish an effective strategy for responding to charges in order to minimize the serious penalties you face or to reduce the chances of conviction.
Defenses to wire transfer fraud can include:
- Insufficient evidence that wire transfers or other type of wire, radio, or television communications were used as part of a scheme to defraud.
- Good faith. If you honestly believed the statements made to induce the wire transfer to occur, you were not part of a scheme to defraud. However, you may not willfully blind yourself to the truth of statements made to induce the wire transfer.
A wire transfer fraud attorney can help you to identify potential defenses that you can present in trial. Your attorney can also help you to try to negotiate a plea bargain. You may have the option to reduce charges or to limit the penalties that are associated with conviction if you admit to violating the law and the case does not go to trial.
Getting Help from a Wire Transfer Scams Lawyer
Wire transfer fraud cases and bank fraud cases are complex, as prosecutors pursuing the most serious penalties must prove that you used the wire transfers as part of a scheme to defraud a financial institution.
Your attorney at Bukh Law Firm can help you to respond in a strategic way to the charges you face.