Wire fraud charges have become increasingly common in South Carolina and across the country, especially as more people rely on the internet or mobile messaging to find investment opportunities or market financial offerings. A wire fraud charge includes allegations of criminal fraud, intentional deception for the purpose of unlawful gain, that takes place using some form of telecommunications. The penalties for a wire fraud conviction can be harsh, and the statute of limitations may vary depending on the circumstances.
Statute of limitations may be extended
Any type of electronic communication, including the telephone, the internet, a website, email, social media posts or messaging services, may be involved in a wire fraud charge. In most cases, these allegations are based on communications that cross state or national borders, giving rise to federal criminal charges. Sentences for a conviction for wire fraud can range up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a corporation or organization, large penalties for white-collar crimes. While the statute of limitations for wire fraud is typically five years, that limit can rise to 10 years if the wire fraud targeted a financial institution.
Sentences may also face enhancement
Because wire fraud cases are often complex, people or businesses may be under investigation for these charges long before a case is filed. Not everyone convicted of wire fraud personally sent one of the fraudulent communications or succeeded in convincing someone to participate in a scheme. Prosecutors may focus on showing an intent to defraud or knowledge of others’ fraudulent messages.
Sentences in wire fraud cases can also face enhancement in cases where defendants are accused of targeting a financial institution. These enhancements also apply in cases related to a state of emergency declared by the President. In these cases, people convicted may receive a prison sentence of up to 30 years and fines may reach $1 million.