Wire fraud is a federal crime and is committed when wire technology (generally electronic transmissions by telephone, bank wire, internet, or other wire signal) is used to commit a fraud. 18 U.S. C. §1343. Wire fraud has two elements: (1) the defendant devised or intended to devise a scheme to defraud, or to obtain money or property using fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises; and (2) the defendant used wire technology for the purpose of executing or attempting to execute the scheme or fraudulent acts. It is not necessary that the use of wire technology be an essential part of the fraudulent scheme.
Wire fraud is a felony offense with potential punishments of decades-long prison sentences, financial penalties, restitution obligations, and probation terms.