Democratic state representative Reggie Fullwood was recently charged with multiple fraud-related charges that could land him in prison for up to 20 years. Among the allegations are that Fulwood created a fake campaign account to solicit donations and then embezzled those funds to pay for personal expenses and turned in false expense reports to the state to hide the embezzlement. Fullwood is also accused of intentionally failing to file income tax returns between for several years.
Fullwood has specifically been indicted on10 counts of wire fraud and four counts of federal tax fraud. The charges are obviously quite serious, and Fullwood reportedly chose to plead not guilty in his initial court appearance last Friday. Fullwood’s attorney has stated that they disagree with the government’s application of federal wire fraud law to the facts of the case, though sources had nothing more to say about this statement.
Federal mail and wire fraud statutes target fraud schemes which make use of mail or wire communications, and such charges are very common in all types of fraud prosecutions. The aim of prosecutors in pursuing any charges is ordinarily to nail a defendant on every possible criminal count applicable to the case, and prosecutors will typically throw mail and wire fraud into the mix when they feel they the evidence will allow them to obtain a conviction on those charges. Defending against mail and wire fraud charges, therefore, often goes along with defending against other fraud charges in a criminal case.
In our next post, we’ll take a look at the elements of mail and wire fraud charges and some of the considerations that go into criminal cases where they are at issue.
Source: Congressional Research Service, “Mail and Wire Fraud: A Brief Overview of Federal Criminal Law,” Charles Doyle, July 2011.