Being accused of bank fraud or a financial scheme is scary. That is especially true for people who spend their lives cultivating a good professional reputation. Everything you have built over a career is at risk: your standing as a professional, your reputation in your community, your financial success, and your liberty.
We understand what you are facing and know how to help. We have years of experience assisting people in your situation. We have cultivated relationships with investigators and experts prepared to assist in your defense. Allow us to help you.
Bank fraud is a financial crime that occurs by using accounts of a financial institution. The crimes can range from a relatively simple idea (taking cash from the drawer) to more complex schemes to obtain money through dishonest means (inflating assets or falsifying an application to obtain a loan or misusing money lent for a particular purpose).
Fraud is simply using intentional deception for monetary or personal gain. Bank fraud is employing some fraudulent scheme to obtain money from a federally insured financial institution. 18 U.S.C. 1344 makes it a crime to defraud or attempt to defraud a financial institution. The government must prove that the person knowingly committed or attempted to commit a scheme to defraud a financial institution or obtain “moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property” controlled by a financial institution through false pretenses. Any person convicted of bank fraud is subject to up to thirty years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000. 18 U.S.C. 1344
There is a separate crime for making a false statement to a financial institution. 18 U.S.C. 1014.
The statute is designed to allow the government to prosecute common fraud schemes that target a certain group, financial institutions. It can be used for a variety of behavior including complex white collar criminal activity, common criminal schemes, and criminal behavior commonly associated with organized crime. Because the crime covers any financial institution that is federally chartered or insured, it can be used to prosecute alleged fraud against almost all banks and financial institutions.
Examples of types of conduct the government investigates and prosecutes follows:
Accounting Fraud: Using fraudulent bookkeeping to overstate income, inflate the value of assets, or claim a profit when a company is losing money. The use of these books or accounting records to obtain investments or loans could be evidence of bank fraud, financial fraud, or both.
Check kiting: exploiting a banking system by depositing a check in one bank drawn of an account from another bank with the intent to withdraw the money immediately. The bank receiving the deposit will credit the account even though the original bank has not transferred the funds. This type of transaction may be illegal if the person depositing check is exploiting the fact that the funds will be available before the original bank transfers the funds and knows that the account at the original bank has insufficient funds to cover the deposit.
Forged documents or checks: Altering a check written to another person by signing the proper recipient’s name, changing a name on a check, or modifying the amount of a check are examples of illegally forged or altered documents. These practices may be evidence of bank fraud, financial fraud or both.
Fraudulent loan applications: Using false information or withholding critical information on a loan application could result in allegations of bank fraud. The person must include or withhold the false information knowingly to violate the bank fraud statute. The design is generally to inflate income, hide a poor credit history, or make a loan appear less risky.
Identity theft: Using information about another person to withdraw funds, apply for loans, or obtain credit or ATM cards are examples of bank fraud. Using the bank or credit cards to purchase goods is another example.
Investigations and prosecutions of bank fraud should never be a one-sided inquiry. Just because a financial institution or the government questions a particular transaction, chain of events, or business deal does not mean that the people involved intended to defraud the financial institution. Likewise, a financial institution may know a statement is false or fail to rely on the statement.
The government must show that a person knowingly made a false statement to prove bank fraud.
White collar criminal investigations are complex. The conduct the government is investigating often involves legitimate business practices. It is important to have experienced counsel representing you during any investigation that may result in a criminal charge, especially something as serious as bank fraud.
Given the multitude of documents involved in almost anyone’s life these days, these investigations include many cancelled checks, receipts, accounting records, bank statements, credit card statements, and tax returns.
Counsel must be prepared to analyze this information and consider alternatives to willful conduct as well take into consideration and offer explanations for lawful behavior.
We have advised people during these investigations, consulted experts, and defended claims of criminal wire fraud.
We understand the monumental task of gathering documents for an independent review, the worry associated with not knowing where the government’s investigation will lead, and the danger of losing everything you have worked for. We are prepared to help you challenge these investigations and defend you at trial when necessary.
We understand you risk losing everything. We are criminal white-collar attorneys prepared to help you achieve your best possible results and get back to leading a productive life.