The offence of wire fraud has been used extensively by US federal prosecutors. Rahman Ravelli’s Joshua Ray wrote an article questioning whether applying it to spoofing cases is going too far.
In an article, published by Fraud Intelligence, Josh details the federal wire fraud statute prohibiting “any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises” via an electronic communication.
He argues that the wording of the statute means that it can be applied to a wide range of behaviour. Josh also emphasises that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been criticised for trying to “stretch the reach” of the wire fraud statute.
In his article, he assesses the US government’s attempts to secure convictions using the wire fraud statute, even when there was no direct financial harm done (or intended) to the victim. In cases brought under the controversial “right to control” wire fraud theory, the government has pushed for criminal convictions although the alleged scheme did not - and was not created to - cause direct financial injury to the purported victim.
The government’s typical allegation in such cases is that a defendant withheld or misstated “information that could impact on economic decisions” and could, therefore, deprive a victim of their “right to control” their own assets. Josh considers a number of such cases and the strength of prosecution arguments.
Josh's article featured on Fraud Intelligence.