Bank fraud is a federal crime that involves a scheme to defraud a financial institution (a federally insured bank) or an attempt to obtain money (and other items) by fraud. Bank fraud is codified in 18 USC § 1344 which is the statute that sets forth the acts that constitute bank fraud and the penalties that can be imposed for those who are found to have violated the statute. The federal bank fraud statute provides:
Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice—
to defraud a financial institution; or
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 not more than 30 years, or both.
18 USC § 1344.
There are many different ways that people can be found to have committed bank fraud. Set forth below are a few of the schemes that can lead to federal charges for bank fraud:
- Forgery – altering a check by changing the name to whom the check is made out to or the amount of the check;
- Stealing checks (from post offices, mailboxes, businesses etc.);
- Setting up fake financial institutions and luring people into depositing funds; and/or
- Taking out a fraudulent loan, or purposefully providing false information to a bank in securing a loan.
The United States Attorney’s Office is the prosecuting authority in a federal bank fraud charge, and usually the federal agents involved are the FBI. Sometimes certain conduct can be found to constitute bank fraud as well as other federal crimes, such as wire fraud and mail fraud.
If you or a loved one are approached by a federal agent, or threatened or charged with a federal crime, you need a federal criminal defense lawyer immediately. To discuss the federal criminal defense update or criminal law more generally, reach out to New Jersey and New York criminal defense lawyer Lorraine Gauli-Rufo at 973-239-4300 or LGR LAW for a consultation today. For more information about the firm, please visit LGR LAW’s website.