18 U.S.C. § 1343

Fraud by Wire, Radio and Television

Fraud by Wire, Radio and Television

Fraud by Wire, Radio & TV – Table of Contents

Elements of Fraud by Wire, Radio and Television crime

List of Fraud by Wire, Radio and Television Elements:

  • Specific intent to devise a scheme to defraud, or obtain money, or obtain property, or
  • Specific intent to devise an artifice to defraud, or obtain money, or obtain property, and
  • Using false pretenses or misrepresentations,
  • Transmission (or cause to be transmitted) by wire, radio or television,
  • In interstate or foreign commerce,
  • A writing, sign, signal, picture or sound in order to realize the fraudulent scheme or artifice.

Punishment of the Fraud by Wire, Radio and Television

  • A fine, or
  • Imprisonment up to 20 years, or
  • Both a fine and imprisonment up to 20 years.
  • Enhanced punishment exists in the form of a fine not exceeding $1,000,000 or an imprisonment term of up to 30 years in prison, or both the fine and imprisonment term, if the fraudulent benefit is derived from a presidentially-declared emergency operation or if it affects a financial institution.


  • Good faith defense: This is a good defense because there is no burden of persuasion on the defendant, and it offers a complete defense to the crime charged in that it trumps the specific intent element required to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It simply means that whatever actions the defendant took, he or she undertook without any intent to commit fraud by Wire, Radio and Television. If successful, it results in acquittal of the charge.
  • Statute of limitations: This is an affirmative defense asserted by a defendant against the charged fraud by Wire, Radio and Television crime. The statutory timeframe within which the case can be brought for wire, radio, and television fraud to a federal court is 5 years, but if a financial institution was affected (see Enhancement, above), then the statutory period is extended to 10 years.
  • Ex post facto law: Under Article I, sections 9 and 10 of the US Constitution, neither the federal government nor the states may pass legislation that changes a law retroactively by criminalizing a lawful act when done, prescribing heavier punishment or by reducing evidence needed to convict a person, with the intent to punish that individual. To illustrate the mechanism of this defense, in US v Garfinkel, 29 F.3d § 1253, the defendant, a psychiatrist charged with mail fraud for using misrepresentations to obtain money and property from the government, contended that the prior date, 18 November 1988, on which his fraudulent letter was mailed, concluded the crime of mail fraud. That same date happened to be the date of enactment of 18 USC §1346, the code section criminalizing his act. The defendant, therefore, asserted the ex post facto defense. He could not reasonably have had knowledge of the criminality of his act on that date. However, the court found that because the mail fraud had continued subsequently, well into the following year, the defense was unsuccessful.

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If you have recently been arrested for a Fraud by Wire, Radio and Television or related offense, please don’t hesitate to call our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney for a free, no-obligation consultation with Seppi Esfandi. During your call, Mr. Esfandi will hear the details of the case and advise you on the best approach to defend yourself. If you wish, a consultation in our office can be promptly scheduled.

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Igor B.
May 25, 2017
I had a situation where I was facing some serious time. The charges would have ruined my life. Seppi came through for me and now it's not a problem. Very grateful.

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