Common Defense Strategies Used in Wire Fraud Cases
Wire fraud is a crime that involves a person intentionally using an interstate communications device, such as a phone or a computer with internet, as part of a scheme designed to defraud another party of something of value.
Unlike other crimes, there are no “accidents” when it comes to wire fraud. There must be an element of intent. Prosecutors must show the defendant aimed to deprive another person of something of value, such as money or property. The fraudulent scheme must use some sort of promise, statement, deception or misrepresentation specifically for the purpose of defrauding another person.
There are a variety of defenses that can be used if you’re charged with wire fraud, but there are two that are particularly common.
The ‘good faith’ defense
Again, a scheme to defraud must contain an element of intent. A person who is acting in good faith cannot be convicted of committing wire fraud, because that person does not actually intend to defraud the victim.
Therefore, if you are able to show you acted in accordance with all requirements of state law, had no financial motivation to deprive the victims in any way, attempted to rectify the losses experienced by the victims or consulted with an attorney before taking action, you can display your innocence of wire fraud.
The ‘puffery’ defense
A common sales tactic is to use flattery, opinions or exaggerations to persuade buyers. This tactic is often referred to as “puffery” in the legal world, and is also a defense against wire fraud charges.
A common example is a salesperson on a cold call who states a product is “the best you’ll find on the market.” This statement could not be the basis of wire fraud, because a reasonably competent listener would not rely on such a statement when deciding to purchase a product. However, materially false claims, such as claiming a product is made of “24-karat gold” when it is not, do not constitute puffery, and can instead be considered fraudulent claims.
To learn more about your options when accused of wire fraud, meet with skilled Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.