I'm in the United States and my friend was considering creating a website or websites to obtain information and finances from Russians who are supporting the anti-Ukrainian war effort.

My friend wants to make an illegitimate website where Russians can "donate money" to "support russia, etc". He wants to pay taxes on the income and donate half the income to a veterans charity. He also wants to forward all information to the FBI. Would my friend be prosecuted in the United States for this?

I tried to research this but I couldn't find any clear answers and I would assume that the answer is "yes, but probably not", but maybe someone has some actual information, precedent, etc.

1 Answer 1


This is wire fraud and punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

It is not relevant that the victims of this fraud are people who support a cause that the US government opposes. Nor is it relevant what your friend chooses to do with the ill-gotten money. It is still just as illegal.

Whether your friend would be prosecuted would be at the discretion of federal prosecutors, and political motivations could come into play. That is beyond the scope of Law.SE to address. What is certain is that he could be prosecuted.

Giving information to the FBI probably won't help, as from your description, the victims of this fraud aren't doing anything illegal. "Donating money to support Russia", while vague, does not sound like it violates any of the current sanctions.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .