NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 27th November 2023, 04:53 am
Defending Complex Federal Wire Fraud Conspiracy Cases in New York
Federal wire fraud charges are no joke, especially when they involve an alleged conspiracy. These cases can be incredibly complex, with prosecutors bringing charges against multiple defendants for schemes involving many different transactions over an extended period of time. As a defense attorney, it’s critical to have a deep understanding of the elements of wire fraud, the unique challenges of conspiracy charges, and the most effective defense strategies.
Overview of Federal Wire Fraud
The federal wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1343, prohibits using interstate wires to execute any scheme to defraud or obtain money or property under false or fraudulent pretenses. This includes things like email, phone calls, text messages, wire transfers, etc. Prosecutors don’t actually have to prove the wires were used to commit fraud, just that they were used in furtherance of the alleged scheme.To convict on wire fraud, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud or obtain money/property by false pretenses
- The defendant had intent to defraud
- Interstate wires were used to further the scheme
- The scheme resulted in loss of money or property
A “scheme to defraud” basically means any plan to deprive someone of money or property by deception. Courts interpret this pretty broadly. Prosecutors also don’t have to show the victims actually relied on the defendant’s misrepresentations.
Challenges of Wire Fraud Conspiracy Cases
In conspiracy cases, prosecutors charge that multiple defendants worked together to commit wire fraud as part of the same overarching criminal scheme. This makes the case exponentially more complicated.The government has to prove:
- There was an agreement between 2 or more people to commit wire fraud
- The defendant knowingly and intentionally joined in the agreement
- A member of the conspiracy committed an overt act in furtherance of the scheme
Proving “intent” becomes more difficult when there are multiple defendants. Prosecutors use “collective knowledge” theory – arguing that one defendant knew Fact A, another knew Fact B, so together they possessed the requisite criminal intent. Defense attorneys must fight this.The scope of the alleged conspiracy also expands, covering numerous transactions over many years. Prosecutors use this to introduce evidence that would otherwise be irrelevant or prejudicial.There are also jurisdictional and venue issues when conduct spans many districts. Prosecutors shop for the most favorable charging venue.
Crafting a Defense Strategy
With the deck stacked against them, wire fraud conspiracy defendants need experienced defense attorneys to carefully craft their defense. Here are some strategies we employ:
Fight Collective Knowledge Theory
A strong defense will challenge the government’s ability to prove any individual defendant’s intent solely through collective knowledge. We work to sever defendants or trials when possible. We also meticulously cross-examine cooperators on their lack of knowledge regarding a particular defendant’s state of mind.
Attack Credibility of Cooperators
Prosecutors often use cooperating witnesses in conspiracy cases. But cooperators are inherently biased, incentivized to fabricate or embellish. We dig into their background, prior inconsistent statements, and motives to reveal a lack of credibility. Getting juries to distrust cooperators is key.
If the charged venue seems unfair, we research the jurisdictional requirements and move to transfer venue. Wire fraud has flexible venue rules so this can be difficult, but we’ve succeeded in some cases. At minimum we highlight venue shopping to juries.
Focus on Individual Transactions
By breaking the case down transaction-by-transaction, we prevent prosecutors from glossing over the intricacies. We put them to their proof on each element for each transaction. Their burden becomes clearer to the jury.
Employ Aggressive Motions Practice
We make frequent motions to dismiss, for bills of particulars, and to suppress evidence. This forces prosecutors to crystallize theories earlier and eliminates surprises. We also exclude prejudicial evidence whenever possible via motions in limine.
Use Experts Effectively
Wire fraud cases often involve complex financial transactions or accounting issues. Skilled defense attorneys utilize forensic accountants and other experts to simplify concepts for juries and challenge the government’s evidence.
Leverage Parallel Civil Suits
Parallel civil litigation can unlock key defense evidence. We leverage discovery from civil cases and work jointly with civil counsel to maximize access to witnesses and documents.
Capitalize on Burden of Proof
Juries must find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Our job is to hammer on the government’s burden repeatedly. We show how their inferences require speculation, how theories of collective knowledge fail under scrutiny. Reasonable doubt permeates everything.
Why Experience Matters
As you can see, defending complex wire fraud conspiracy cases requires knowledge and skills honed from extensive experience. At [Firm Name], our attorneys have successfully defended countless clients in these high-stakes prosecutions. We understand how prosecutors operate, the tactics they deploy, and how to counter them effectively. If you or a loved one faces prosecution in a complex federal white collar case in New York, contact us today to schedule a free case assessment. Our team has the expertise to protect your rights, liberty, and reputation.