What Is Wire Transfer Fraud & What Are the Penalties of a Conviction?
Wire transfer fraud is when someone fraudulently obtains money through a wire transfer. This could happen in various ways, such as impersonating someone, hacking into someone's financial account, or using social engineering tactics to trick someone into sending money.
Wire transfer fraud is a federal offense and is prosecuted in federal court. Wire transfer fraud typically falls under the umbrella of wire fraud, generally defined as a scheme to defraud using wire, radio, or television communications to perpetrate the fraud. Depending on the circumstances of the case, someone charged with wire transfer fraud may face up to $1,000,000 in fines and 30 years in jail.
While many wire transfer fraud cases are handled at the federal level, there may be instances where the state court has jurisdiction. Always consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, like ours at Foley Griffin, to understand the specifics of your case, including which court has jurisdiction.
What Are the Common Types of Wire Transfer Fraud Scams?
Business email compromise (BEC) scams and romance scams are common examples of wire transfer fraud. In a BEC scam, the perpetrator sends a fraudulent email, pretending to be a trusted contact, and asks for money to be transferred. In a romance scam, the perpetrator gains the victim's trust and then asks for money to be sent to them.
Other common examples of wire transfer fraud scams include the following:
- You are told you won a prize, but you have to wire a processing fee
- You are asked to wire money to another country
- You are asked to pay advance fees for a loan
It is also not uncommon for someone's email to be hacked, after which the hacker uses the personal information they gained to pose as your banking institution and convince you to hand over your account information.
Can Social Media Be Used to Perpetrate Wire Fraud?
Yes, social media is frequently used to perpetrate wire transfer fraud and/or wire fraud schemes. In fact, social media is a fast-growing area where these scams are being perpetrated. Similarly, internet messaging services and apps are also used in fraudulent schemes.
What Are Some Famous Examples of Wire Transfer Fraud?
Some well-known wire transfer scams include the "Nigerian prince scam" and the "grandparent scam." The Nigerian prince scam involves an email or letter from someone claiming to be royalty or government officials requesting your assistance in transferring funds out of their country. The grandparent scam targets older adults and involves someone pretending to be a grandchild in need of financial aid. These scams are often successful because they prey on emotions, greed, and a sense of urgency.
What Should You Do If You Are Accused of Wire Transfer Fraud?
If you have been accused of wire transfer fraud, seeking legal representation immediately is essential. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate your charges, help you understand your rights, and determine the best course of action. It's important to remember that wire transfer fraud is a serious crime with severe consequences. If you are facing charges, your future is at stake, and you need a competent attorney who can advocate for you.
Wire transfer fraud is a serious crime that can result in jail time, fines, and a criminal record. If you face charges, much is at stake, including your freedom. Do not waste time; contact Foley Griffin to schedule a consultation today.