The federal wire fraud statute is one of the broadest and most utilized tools for punishing fraudulent conduct. After Congress enacted the mail fraud statute (making it illegal to use U.S. mail to perpetrate a fraud), it adopted a similar statute to capture the use of wire transmissions to further a fraud. At the time – 1952 – “wires” mostly constituted the telephone, with some radio and television transmissions. Today, it encompasses all cellular and internet transmissions as well.
A fraud scheme on its own is not necessarily a federal offense. In order for the U.S. government ...