Bank Fraud

Federal Bank Fraud: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of the late 2000s, the Federal government has shown an increased interest in investigating and scrutinizing individuals and business transactions related to the banking industry. With a myriad of rules and regulations to track, an unsuspecting company or individual can find themselves at the center of a government investigation. If you find yourself answering a call from an FBI agent, or on the receiving end of a subpoena, it is important for you to seek out and retain an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney or Federal criminal lawyer to help you navigate the system. Whether or not the FBI, US Attorney’s Office or any other Federal agency ultimately pursues a prosecution, a bank fraud investigation is not to be ignored. If convicted, you can find yourself in prison for up to 30 years and have to pay a fine of up to $1 million.

Bank Fraud: The Basics of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344

Bank fraud is when an individual or entity knowingly engages in a scheme to defraud a financial institution (usually a bank, but not always) or when one obtains any of the money of a financial institution by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.

Bank Fraud: The Criminal Elements

Whatever the criminal charge, prosecutors always have the burden to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. Federal crimes involving Bank Fraud are not different. Here, the elements that Assistant United States Attorneys must prove are as follows:

  1. There was a scheme to defraud a bank or other financial institution [or] to obtain moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or in the custody or control of, a bank or other financial institution by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises; and
  2. The defendant knowingly executed the scheme; and
  3. The defendant acted with the intent to defraud; and
  4. The scheme involved a materially false or fraudulent pretense, representation, or promise
Bank Fraud: Material Misrepresentation

Not all misrepresentations are created equal. In the Federal crime of Bank Fraud, to be fraudulent, any misrepresentation (or lie) must be “material.” That is, the misrepresentation must be related to the scheme -- either helping the alleged criminal perpetrate the crime or convincing a purported victim to believe the defendant.

Bank Fraud: Scheme to Defraud

No different than Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud and Health Care Fraud, Bank Fraud requires a scheme to defraud. Instead of overanalyzing this particular component, a scheme to defraud in the eyes of the law is a course of action taken to deprive another person, business or organization of property or money. In the context of Bank Fraud, that other person, business or organization is a financial institution.

Bank Fraud: The Penalties & Consequences

Beyond the fact that a conviction for Bank Fraud can decimate your career and lead to deportation for non-citizens, the conversation that most defendants will (and should) have with their criminal attorneys involve incarceration. If convicted of Bank Fraud, you can be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. Couple that with a potential $1,000,000 fine and full restitution, a conviction for this offense can be life altering for both you and your immediate family.

In the event you are confronted by a Federal agent, a search warrant has already been executed or you are detained, you or your family needs to take the steps to immediately identify a defense and set that defense into motion. The alternative will only compound your fragile legal position. Contact the Federal criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC and let our knowledge, experience and advocacy work for you.

Call the Federal criminal lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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