Fraud is one of many ‘white collar’ crimes that the Federal government considers to be of particular interest. 47-year-old financial advisor (name withheld for privacy) of Napa is no exception, having pled guilty a few months ago to defrauding an elderly woman who was one of his clients at Morgan Stanley, then at Wells Fargo. Between the years of 2004 to the early part of 2010, he wrote checks out of his client’s account an placed the monies in his girlfriend’s checking account. In total, he stole approximately $650,000 and has been ordered to repay his client back this sum, plus an additional $360,000 (for the purposes of restitution) by a U.S. District Judge.
What he was actually charged with was the crime of wire fraud (18 US Code 1343) which indicates that it was carried out through one of several different means of communication, including e-mail, radio, wire or television. Perhaps the most interesting thing about wire fraud cases is that law enforcement officials in the state of California do not prosecute them, but instead federal officials do. The U.S. Federal government takes these crimes very seriously. If convicted of such a crime, you will not spend time in a California state prison nor in county jail, but in a federal facility. In fact, you may find yourself spending up to 20 years in federal prison and have to pay a hefty fine. Additionally, you may also find that federal prosecutors have charged you, not only with wire fraud, but also with conspiracy to commit fraud, an entirely separate crime with its own penalties.