Illinois Wire Fraud Laws & Charges + Statute Of Limitations

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Wire fraud is the instance that a criminal concocts a scheme to defraud an individual or business of money by using long distance communication methods. In the early days of paper correspondence, the situation arose where mail fraud was a regular occurrence. Eventually, regulations in the postal service made it all but impossible to commit mail fraud and so fraudsters have moved their businesses to the online arena, dealing in international wire transfers and electronic banking. As in most cases, the most important aspect of the law regarding wire fraud in Illinois is proving the intent of the individual to commit fraud via the transmission of the original message.

Illinois is unique in that it is one of the few states that still hold a mail fraud and wire fraud enactment in their law books. Generally, mail and wire fraud are federal issues, but in the case of Illinois the state law enables the local authorities to use wire or mail fraud as a bargaining tool in the prosecution of more serious charges. Wire fraud and mail fraud falls under Illinois law as a Class 3 Felony and will be prosecuted as such in a court of law.

Illinois Laws And Penalties

In Illinois law, Wire fraud falls under the use of telecommunications equipment in order to commit fraud knowingly on an unsuspecting victim. This mirrors the federal law definition of wire fraud. It should be noted that wire fraud is distinct and separate from other types of fraud such as mail fraud, fraud committed by documents delivered in person and fraud by false statements. The laws for wire fraud were derived from the laws for mail fraud as the latter became more and more prevalent as technology evolved to a point where fraudsters could make use of it with impunity.

Most wire fraud cases fall within federal jurisdiction because of the propensity of the offense to be committed across state lines. However, Illinois State can also press charges independent of federal charges, making the committing of wire fraud an extremely serious offense within the state of Illinois. In particular are the sections that pertain to the use of inter-state emergency transmission services and the use of any telecommunication services that would affect a financial institution.

Illinois Wire Fraud Penalties

The penalties for wire fraud vary over the seriousness of the level of wire fraud committed. General wire fraud uses any electronic medium, inclusive of television and radio, to commit fraud by the misrepresentation of information. There is also a special case of fraud that is reserved for the inter-state communication lines that should only be used in case of an emergency. The penalties for a crime such as this are far more serious than simple wire fraud. A second set of guidelines exist for cases that deal with the use of a line of communication that specifically affects financial institutions. Punishment in the above situations often vary from case to case. In any event, wire fraud sentencing allows for the convicted party to be jailed for no more than twenty (20) years per charge. As with most other financially-based felonies, the punishment is usually weighed in response to the impact that the crime has had.

Statute Of Limitations on Illinois

In Illinois, the statute of limitations that exists for the prosecution of a wire fraud case is no more than five (5) years of the offense. The situation usually arises that the fraud is not discovered until more than the original five years have passed. If this is the case, then no action can be brought against the alleged criminal since after five years the crime’s statute of limitations has run its course and the crime is no longer valid.

Key Illinois Wire Fraud Cases

  • Belleville man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud – A 52 year old Belleville, Illinois resident pleads guilty to joint counts of wire fraud and tax evasion, resulting in a fine of up to $750,000 and 3 years supervised release. Over 70 victims of the man’s crimes had lost over $100,000.
  • Doctor and Wife Guilty of Wire Fraud – As an addition to their financial manipulation scheme, a Taylorville doctor and his wife have also pleaded guilty on charges of wire fraud. They could each face prison time of up to 30 years apiece and fines in excess of $1 million.
  • Contractor in Illinois Capitol Renovation Case Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud – The 65 year old former boss of Core Construction Services of Illinois pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges which resulted in an order to pay $800,000 in restitution.
  • Palatine Man Arrested in Cloned Debit Card Case – A local Palatine man pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud after using cloned bank cards to illegally withdraw money from accounts not in his name. Information used on the cards were obtained from locals who reside overseas.