Bank fraud is a serious federal offense that can result in spending significant time in federal prison and paying a financial penalty. In short, bank fraud occurs when someone uses deception or deceit to obtain money or property from a financial institution. It is important to note that Title 18 U.S.C. § 1014, a separate federal crime, makes it illegal to make false statements to a financial institution.Bank Fraud, Title 18 U.S.C. § 1344
Bank fraud is an offense under Section 1344 of the United States Code. One commits the crime of bank fraud when:
- They knowingly execute, or attempt to execute, a scheme or artifice:
- To defraud a financial institution; or
- To obtain 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.
Fraud occurs when one makes material misleading statements or intentionally omits material information. Something is "material" if it relates to the scheme somehow, such as helping the defendant carry out the crime or making the victim believe the defendant.Types of Bank Fraud
As you can see, the Bank fraud statute is quite broad and encompasses various actions that can result in Federal charges. It is important to note that a bank fraud charge is not limited to providing a bank with false information to acquire a loan or creating counterfeit currency. Other offenses include:
- Skimming: This is the illegal process in which one duplicates the information on the magnetic strip of one's credit or debit card. It is not uncommon for offenders to target A.T.M.s, gas pumps, and other automated purchasing machines. Often, skimmers use the card to make online purchases.
- Check Fraud: This offense occurs in a variety of different ways, some of which are listed below:
- Forgery: Signing or endorsing a check not payable to the endorser
- Theft: Stealing checks
- Check kiting: Writing a check off of a bank account with inadequate funds to cover the check
- Washing: Using special chemicals to remove information, like the amount or date, from a check
- Credit and Debit Card Fraud: Many of us have been victims of credit or debit card fraud, especially given the prominent role the Internet and online marketplaces play in our daily lives when unauthorized purchases appear on our bank statements.
Upon conviction of bank fraud, one can face a fine of up to $1,000,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 30 years.Aggravated Identity Theft
In addition to bank fraud, federal prosecutors have the opportunity to bring an aggravated identity theft charge under 18 U.S.C. § 1028(A). This offense applies when a person "knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person." What makes this sentence unique is, it comes with a mandatory two-year consecutive prison sentence.Legal Counsel
Having a bank fraud conviction attached to one's name can have significant consequences for the rest of that person's life. Despite having served time in federal prison and paying a steep fine, one still has the stigma of being a convicted felon, affecting their ability to get financing from a bank. On top of all that, one also risks their job and puts their reputation at risk. There mere hiring of experienced defense counsel can put one at ease because they know that someone is working tirelessly on their behalf to fight for them and their future.
Peter Katz is an experienced former State and Federal prosecutor who has prosecuted many white-collar cases during his two-decade career. Peter is ready to bring that experience to your case and work tirelessly on your behalf to protect you and your rights. Call the Law Offices of Peter Katz at (609) 734-4380 or online to begin preparing your defense today!