In today’s digital world, it is no surprise that wire fraud is one of the most common types of white-collar crimes nowadays. Wire fraud is any type of financial scheme using the internet or telephone. This could be anything from sending a phishing email to telephone scam calls.
A significant portion of the FBI’s list of the most common scams includes those that involve wire fraud. This is partly due to the sheer range of avenues and apparent anonymity technology offers. However, it is important to be aware of how current events and advances in technology can affect the prevalence of this crime – and, in turn, the risk of criminal charges.
Current events increase the risks of wire fraud charges
The risk of wire fraud charges becomes much more complicated considering recent events and developments, including:
- Cryptocurrency: The popularity of digital currency increased sharply in the last few years. In response, this year saw an increase in fraud cases and lawsuits involving various types of cryptocurrencies. CNBC reports that cryptocurrency fraud led to a loss of $1 billion since the beginning of 2021. This is leading law enforcement and lawmakers to look closer at this issue, which could lead to many people facing charges.
- COVID-19: The global pandemic affected everyone in countless ways. Financial struggles were one of those ways, which led to several instances of schemes involving wire fraud. Specifically, the government’s issuance of paycheck protection program (PPP) loans contributed significantly to the increase in wire fraud cases.
It is important to be aware of the outside factors that affect the risks of wire fraud. These external risks frequently lead to increased police actions and legal crackdowns. In turn, that can significantly increase the risk of arrest and fraud charges.
Know the penalties
The consequences of wire fraud are high. These offenses frequently involve federal charges, with penalties including:
- Up to $250,000 for cases involving individuals
- Up to 20 years of prison time
These penalties only apply to one count of fraud. If there are several counts against someone, they multiply.
Criminal penalties aside, charges of wire fraud can also have serious effects on one’s personal and business reputation. It can be difficult to recover the trust of friends, family and potential customers. That is why it is critical to know the risks and fight these charges.