Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Third Circuit Finds No Convergence or Personal Benefit Requirement in Federal Wire Fraud Statute

In United States v. Porat, ---F. 4th---, 2023 WL 5009238 (3d Cir. 2023), the Third Circuit clarified what the government has to prove to prove someone guilty of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343.  First, the Court held that the wire fraud statute does not require proof that the defendant sought to personally obtain money or property from the victims.  The Court agreed with the Second Circuit that the "identify of the ultimate beneficiary is not dispositive" and the statute is broad enough to encompass "schemes by defendants to obtain money for the benefit of a favored third party."  

Second, the Court joined the majority of other Circuits in holding that the wire fraud statute does not require the defendant to deceive the same party he defrauds of money, rejecting a concept known as "convergence."  

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