Two Orange County men face multiple wire fraud charges after allegedly defrauding investors out of at least $3.5 million. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, they allegedly targeted wealthy investors between June 2009 and March 2014 in Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside Counties. Officials say the men used investments in Euro Bank Trust Corp., for their own personal gain. They have also been accused of making a variety of deceptive statements regarding the wealth of their company and what they could offer to investors. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and could face jury trial as early as July.
Wire fraud is a federal crime involving fraud carried out through any form of television, radio, or wire communication including e-mail and text messaging. According to U.S. Code 1343: “Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication” has committed wire fraud.
In order to commit wire fraud, you must:
- Devise or intend to devise a scheme to defraud another
- You must do it with the intent to defraud
- You must do it through wire facilities such as telecommunication lines.
Wire fraud cases almost always result in serious criminal charges because the federal government typically doesn’t get involved with small wire fraud actions. Therefore, only large schemes that warrant serious attention will result in wire fraud charges. In these cases, the prosecution likely has evidence to prove that the person knowingly and willfully schemed to defraud and that they knowingly transmitted by wire during the execution of the scheme.
Because wire fraud is a federal crime, a conviction can result in time in federal prison, not in a California state prison. If you are facing wire fraud or other fraud charges, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Orange County white-collar crime lawyer to start building your defense.