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Why is wire fraud a federal offense?

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2022 | Federal Crimes |

Many forms of fraud are personal. They involve one individual lying to someone else’s face for financial gain. Someone makes a business pitch to family members while lying about their intent or falsifies their identity to gain access to certain assets or protected spaces with nefarious intent. 

However, wire fraud is different.  Instead of occurring face-to-face, it involves some form of electronic communication as an intermediary between the people involved. A deceptive email or a phone call intended to get people to send money could constitute wire fraud. 

Those accused of a wire fraud offense often feel shocked when they learn that they may face those charges in federal court instead of in an Idaho state court. Why are wire fraud charges often Federal crimes? 

The fraud often cross state boundaries

Typically, wire fraud involves a perpetrator and victim living in different states. People may reach out to others at random or choose someone far away because they think the distance will shield them from law enforcement efforts and prosecution. Any interstate criminal issue is typically subject to federal laws rather than state laws. 

Wire fraud often uses federal infrastructure

From the telecommunications networks to the bank transfer system operated by the Federal Reserve, those engaged in a wire fraud may use federal resources or infrastructure when lying to or manipulating other people. 

If federal regulatory agencies get involved in a case, then federal prosecutors may be the ones to bring charges in a fraud situation. Understanding the jurisdiction rules and laws that lead to federal criminal charges can help you as you explore your potential defenses.