Define: Wire Fraud

Wire Fraud
Wire Fraud
Quick Summary of Wire Fraud

Wire fraud occurs when an individual employs telephone or internet wires to engage in unlawful activities. In order to be deemed guilty of wire fraud, one must have intentionally devised a scheme to deceive someone, either by lying or omitting crucial information, resulting in financial or property loss for the victim, all while utilizing phone or internet wires. Essentially, wire fraud can be likened to deceiving someone through telephone or internet communication.

Full Definition Of Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is a criminal act that entails the use of electronic communication, such as phone calls, emails, or text messages, to deceive individuals and unlawfully acquire their money or property. To secure a conviction for wire fraud, several elements must be established: the individual’s involvement in a fraudulent scheme, the scheme’s reliance on falsehoods or the omission of crucial information, the resulting financial loss suffered by the victim, and the utilization of electronic communication to execute the scheme. For instance, consider an individual who sends an email to a group of people, falsely claiming to represent a charity and soliciting donations. The email contains a link to a counterfeit website where individuals are prompted to enter their credit card details. This individual has committed wire fraud by employing electronic communication to deceive and steal money from others. Another example involves someone calling an elderly person and assuming the identity of their grandchild in distress. They urgently request money to be wired to them. The elderly person complies but later discovers it was a scam. The individual who made the phone call has committed wire fraud by using electronic communication to deceive the elderly person and unlawfully obtain their money.

Wire Fraud FAQ'S

Wire fraud refers to a criminal act where someone uses electronic communication, such as phone calls, emails, or text messages, to deceive or defraud another person or entity for financial gain.

The penalties for wire fraud can vary depending on the severity of the offense and the amount of money involved. In the United States, it is typically considered a federal offense and can result in fines up to $1 million and imprisonment for up to 20 years.

To prove wire fraud, the prosecution must establish that the defendant knowingly and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud, used wire communication in furtherance of the scheme, and had the intent to deceive or defraud.

Yes, wire fraud can be committed even if the perpetrator does not successfully obtain money or property. The mere act of using electronic communication to deceive or defraud someone can be enough to constitute wire fraud.

Yes, wire fraud can be charged alongside other crimes such as identity theft, money laundering, or conspiracy. If multiple criminal acts are committed in connection with wire fraud, the defendant may face additional charges and penalties.

In certain circumstances, individuals can be held liable for wire fraud committed by someone else if they knowingly participated in the scheme or aided and abetted the fraud. However, liability will depend on the specific facts and evidence of each case.

Yes, wire fraud can be committed internationally. With the advancement of technology and global connectivity, perpetrators can engage in wire fraud across borders, making it a complex issue for law enforcement agencies.

Yes, if you believe you have been a victim of wire fraud, it is important to report it to the appropriate authorities. In the United States, you can report wire fraud to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Yes, individuals accused of wire fraud can mount a defence. Common defences include lack of intent to defraud, lack of knowledge or participation in the scheme, or mistaken identity. It is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defence attorney to explore the best defence strategy.

Yes, victims of wire fraud can file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for their losses. These lawsuits can be brought against the perpetrator(s) of the fraud, as well as any other parties who may have been involved or facilitated the fraudulent scheme.


This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 17th April 2024.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

  • Page URL:
  • Modern Language Association (MLA):Wire Fraud. DLS Solicitors. May 23 2024
  • Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):Wire Fraud. DLS Solicitors. (accessed: May 23 2024).
  • American Psychological Association (APA):Wire Fraud. Retrieved May 23 2024, from website:
Avatar of DLS Solicitors
DLS Solicitors : Divorce Solicitors

Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

All author posts