Bank fraud is a crime that includes offenses on both the state and federal level. To commit bank fraud, a person must steal assets from a financial institution or bank. This is a white collar crime, a nonviolent act committed against a bank or financial institution. Included under the bank fraud umbrella is the obtainment of property, money, or assets through fraudulent means.
If you’ve been charged with bank fraud, it’s important to get in contact with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. The law offices of Robert Tsigler have experience negotiating at both the state and federal level.
There are a multitude of different ways that this offense might be committed. It also goes hand-in-hand with other charges such as bribery, making fraudulent records, using false pretenses to obtain a loan, committing petit larceny, committing grand larceny, counterfeiting checks, or committing credit card fraud. These activities are ways that bank fraud might be committed:
- Credit card fraud
- Rogue trading
- Check fraud
Multiple charges exist for this crime. Credit card fraud often includes an additional charge of computer fraud, ATM fraud, or mail fraud. When you’re accused of misapplication of funds, you may also be faced with embezzlement charges. When the crimes involve currency that travels between states, the case moves to federal court. A team of defense lawyers can help you understand your options and provide the best defense possible.
One precedent-setting case was Williams vs. U.S., a case that was tried in 1982. During this case, the court ruled that a check floating scheme is equivalent in severity and nature to willfully making false statements to banks. Following the ruling, Congress passed a statute regarding bank fraud. This statute, 18 U.S.C. 1344, criminalizes the use of fraudulent information when dealing with a bank.
It’s common to see news stories about bribery. Bribery is covered under a different federal statute, statute 18 U.S.C. 215. The statute defines the offense as the act of promising, giving, or offering anything valuable to someone with an intention to reward a financial institution, agent, or employee.
It’s illegal for the institution, agent, or employee to accept anything valuable from another individual to be rewarded. Penalties for bribery can include a fine of up to one million dollars, or a sum of three times the amount of the bribe, or a maximum of thirty years in prison. However, if the bribe was less than $100 in value, the crime is classified as a misdemeanor. This misdemeanor has a potential fine of $1,000 and one year spent in jail.
Because of the current state of the economy, banks and the District Attorney’s Office have both been particularly vigilant about these crimes. Penalties for these offenses are very serious. The punishment’s severity will vary depending on the exact dollar amount that the offense involved, along with the circumstances surrounding the case.
To be convicted of a bank fraud offense, the prosecution must prove the intention of the defendant to commit the offense. The act must be intentional rather than a mistake or case of negligence. If the act was an accident, or the person did not realize that they were giving fraudulent information, there’s a viable criminal defense.
Many bank fraud cases come with additional conspiracy charges. For the prosecutor to achieve a conviction on conspiracy charges, they must prove that the defendant worked with at least one other person to defraud the bank. They must also prove that there was an attempt to achieve this goal through a physical act. However, if the defense attorney can prove that there was no group agreement to commit bank fraud, the defendant would not be guilty of conspiracy charges.