Practice Areas

Bank Fraud

Bank Fraud

What is Bank Fraud?

Bank fraud is the knowing execution of a scheme to defraud a financial institution or the use of fraudulent representations to obtain money or property from a financial institution. “Financial institution” includes all those chartered under the laws of the U.S. or insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or the National Credit Union Administration – basically, any and all banks.
Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance to its prosecutors provides that the federal law criminalizing bank fraud can be used as a “catch-all” statute, allowing federal prosecutors to pursue criminal charges in cases in which more specific provisions of the federal criminal code cannot be leveraged. However, bank fraud charges usually appear in concert with other serious federal charges, such as mail fraud, embezzlement, counterfeiting, computer/internet fraud, and/or other financial fraud related offenses. Indeed, DOJ guidance provides that despite its “catch-all” nature, a bank fraud charge should be viewed as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, such other criminal charges.

How is Bank Fraud Charged and What are the Penalties?

Bank fraud is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1344, which states that “whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice – (1) to defraud a financial institution; or (2) to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned for not more than 30 years, or both.

Examples of acts Constituting Bank Fraud

As discussed above, the federal law criminalizing bank fraud is incredibly broad and captures a wide range of financial fraud. Here are just a few examples:

  • check and credit card fraud
  • real estate fraud involving false or deceptive documents used to obtain a mortgage
  • identity theft whereby one obtains unauthorized access to customer accounts
  • embezzling funds from a financial institution
  • counterfeiting
  • fraud involving Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal

Irvine, California Bank Fraud Attorney

The first and most important decision a defendant or anyone facing a bank fraud investigation must make is to retain the right defense attorney. Responding to a bank fraud investigation or charges requires a proactive, coordinated, and proactive approach. White collar federal defense attorney Peter Hardin has a long and outstanding track record of establishing clear communication with federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors and responding swiftly and accurately to search warrants and subpoenas. Because Peter Hardin has prosecuted and defended against criminal cases, such as bank fraud, for nearly 20 years, he understands not just the law, but the way federal authorities investigate cases and the prosecutorial tactics that follow. It is essential that anyone who may be under investigation for bank fraud, or who has been charged with bank fraud, act quickly to build a strong defense and protect their rights. Contact Peter Hardin now for a free and confidential consultation.

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