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What Are the Implications of Being Under an FBI Investigation for Wire Fraud in California?


Are You Under Investigation for Wire Fraud?

Wire fraud is serious business. In some cases, a federal wire fraud conviction can be penalized with a lengthy federal prison term and a $250,000 fine. If you’re charged with wire fraud in Southern California, you must contact an Orange County wire fraud attorney immediately.

Although there are state laws that prohibit wire fraud, the crime is usually charged as a federal offense. The FBI investigates allegations of wire fraud, and the federal courts usually penalize wire fraud convictions quite harshly.

If you learn that the FBI is investigating you for wire fraud, do not wait until you’ve been arrested to begin defending yourself. Instead, reach out at once to an Orange County wire fraud lawyer for the legal advice and guidance you are going to need.

What Constitutes Wire Fraud?

Wire fraud is any plot or scheme to defraud someone out of money or property by using electronic communications and text, sounds, video, and/or graphics. Wire fraud may involve air or cable communications, phones, texts, emails, and social media platforms.

Virtually everyone runs into some kind of attempted wire fraud almost daily. Wire fraud includes telemarketing and internet scams, “phishing” scams that use email, and efforts to obtain people’s bank account numbers and Social Security numbers over the phone and over the internet.

When a wire fraud criminal has a victim’s bank account number and/or Social Security number, that criminal may apply for loans or credit cards and make purchases by using the victim’s name and personal information.

How Are Wire Fraud Investigations Conducted?

Because wire fraud is a non-violent crime, and because wire fraud suspects presumably pose no immediate risk to the public’s safety, the FBI may take plenty of time to interview witnesses, examine evidence, and develop an airtight wire fraud case against a suspect.

Thus, a wire fraud investigation may take weeks or even months. During that time, if you know that you are under investigation by the FBI, direct and personal intervention by your Orange County wire fraud lawyer may prompt investigators to expedite and wrap up their investigation.

In southern California, if you are under investigation by the FBI for wire fraud or any other white-collar crime, or if you believe that you are under investigation, an experienced wire fraud defense attorney can save you time, money, and possibly a great deal of grief or aggravation.

How Will Your Attorney Help You?

Especially in federal wire fraud cases, your attorney may try to “get ahead” of the investigation and offer the FBI evidence of your innocence. In other cases, your Orange County wire fraud attorney may try to negotiate an acceptable plea bargain – even before an arrest takes place.

A lawyer’s early intervention in a wire fraud investigation may include speaking to witnesses and investigators or discussing the case and the possible charges with a U.S. Attorney. Any delay in retaining a lawyer’s help increases the likelihood that you will face serious federal fraud charges.

Your wire fraud lawyer may even have facts and key evidence that the FBI investigators have overlooked. In some wire fraud investigations – although it’s quite rare – a wire fraud defense lawyer may even persuade the FBI or the U.S. Attorney to drop your case entirely.

What Should You Know About Your Rights?

If you become the target of an FBI wire fraud investigation in southern California, you should know that your right to legal counsel does not abruptly “kick in” after an arrest has been made or after a charge has been filed.

It is your constitutional right to be advised and represented by a criminal defense attorney right now, even before any arrest has been made or any charge has been filed.

If an FBI agent visits your home or workplace, be polite and cooperative, but do not answer any questions – even if you’re innocent. Simply say, “I prefer to exercise my right to remain silent until I consult my attorney.”

How Are Wire Fraud Convictions Penalized?

A defendant may be prosecuted for wire fraud even if the attempt at fraud was not successful. Proving that a defendant attempted to commit wire fraud is all that is required for a conviction.

Under federal law, wire fraud is charged as a Class C felony, and a conviction may be penalized with a fine of up to $250,000 and a number of years in federal prison followed by supervised release.

Each instance of wire fraud may be charged separately. If a wire fraud criminal defrauds several different people and receives a conviction for each of those charges, that offender could be sentenced to decades in prison and could be fined several million dollars.

Additionally, the payment of full restitution to wire fraud victims may be ordered by the court, and any property acquired with the proceeds of the wire fraud will be confiscated.

How Will An Attorney Defend You Against a Wire Fraud Charge?

If you’re charged with committing wire fraud, your attorney may defend you by claiming that you were acting in good faith and you didn’t mean to defraud anyone. Other defenses against a wire fraud charge include:

  1.  You have been framed or misidentified and another person actually committed the fraud.
  2.  The accusation has been fabricated and no wire fraud actually took place.
  3.  Your rights were violated during a search, an interrogation, or when you were arrested.

Your defense attorney will question witnesses and present evidence on your behalf; will cast doubt on the government’s evidence and witnesses; and may move to have the charge reduced or the case against you dismissed.

You Must Be Represented by an Experienced Fraud Attorney

U.S. Attorneys aggressively prosecute wire fraud defendants, so a defendant must be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney who has had considerable experience – and considerable success – representing those who are facing wire fraud charges.

Southern California criminal defense lawyer Diane C. Bass has over twenty-five years of defense experience in both federal and State of California courts. She has prevailed on behalf of defendants accused of wire fraud, bank fraud, racketeering, and other white-collar crimes.

If you are the subject of a wire fraud investigation by the FBI, or if you’ve already been charged by federal authorities with wire fraud – or any other fraud crime – put your case in the hands of criminal defense attorney Diane C. Bass immediately by calling her law offices at (949) 990-4195.

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