The specific statute that deals with wire fraud is 18 U.S.C. §1343. That statute provides:
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 in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
Examination of this statute reveals some interesting points:
- Although this is referred to as a “wire fraud” statute, it encompasses, as well, frauds commited by use of radio and television;
- 18 U.S.C. §1343 does not require transmission of any communication at all. The mere promise that a fraudulent communication will occur is sufficient to constitute violation of this statute;
- If a person in good faith uses wire, radio, or television to promote an enterprise that, in fact, is worthless, that person is not guilty of wire fraud. Good faith is a recognized defense to this charge. However if, having begun such promotion, the person continues it after coming to realize its worthlessness, that continuation does violate 18 U.S.C. §1343.
Allan Marain and Norman Epting, Jr. are New Jersey criminal defense lawyers. Their combined experience exceeds sixty-five years. For that entire time, the focus of their practice has been criminal defense.
If you have been charged, or may be charged with wire fraud in New Jersey, you urgently need to speak to an experienced crimial defense lawyer. The New Jersey Supreme Court's Board on Attorney Certification has recognized Ed as a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney. The qualifications of both Mr. Marain and Mr. Byrne are presented on other pages on this site. They are available to meet with you in a confidential no-charge no obligation conference. They would welcome your call.