Wire fraud is a common and relatively notorious financial crime. It certainly makes for a dramatic plot element in a movie or television show. Someone convinces someone else through deception or coercion to send money via wire transfer. An employee may think it is just another daily business transfer, or a person may think they are about to pay off their mortgage or help bail a family member out of jail.
Unfortunately, the transfer does not accomplish what the person sending it expected. Often, they simply lose those funds or accidentally transfer money from their employer to someone other than the intended recipient. If an individual or business levees wire fraud accusations against you, you could very well face federal charges.
Why is wire fraud usually a federal offense?
Wire fraud involves interstate transactions. For an offense to result in state prosecution and penalties, it needs to violate state law and clearly occur in a particular jurisdiction. Wire fraud may involve someone in one location communicating with a person in a second location and then sending money to a business or bank account somewhere else.
Often, these scenarios involve multiple states as well as the federal banking system. Wire transfers involve the Federal Reserve, which is another reason why wire fraud is a federal offense rather than a state charge.
There are many possible defenses to wire fraud allegations, ranging from proving that you did not play a role in the situation to showing that you were also a victim tricked into providing the wrong information. Learning more about federal criminal charges, like wire fraud, can help those facing criminal charges or investigations.