Illegal activities that involve improper usage of money at a bank or financial institution are often prosecuted as bank fraud. Because banks are regulated and insured by the federal government, bank fraud is a felony offense subject to severe punishments. In addition to incarceration and steep fines, federal offenses like bank fraud will subject a convicted offender to years of difficulty and lost rights.
Defending against any charge of fraud is difficult, but not impossible. It is imperative to understand the nature of this kind of criminal charge before attempting to defend against it in a court of law. Working with a knowledgeable bank fraud defense attorney is also vital to a sturdy defense.
Types of Bank Fraud
Typically, an act of bank fraud consists of an attempt to illegally obtain money from a bank or with the use of a bank account. Also, using fraudulent means to obtain property or assets owned by or in the possession of a bank can constitute bank fraud. There are many ways that a bank fraud scheme can play out and equally as many forms that the fraud can take.
For example, a person may choose to make illegal copies of another person’s checks, or they may forge their name onto a check that is not intended for their use. Because the funds represented by the check are processed through a bank, check forgery is one type of bank fraud.
Other types of bank fraud can include:
- Deliberate use of false or misleading information on official bank documents
- Making illegal copies of documents, such as loan forms or financial statements
- Using stolen personal information in an effort to send or receive money illegally
- Producing or exchanging counterfeit money
Any one of these activities can result in a criminal conviction that includes stern punishments.
Penalties for Bank Fraud
Knowingly and intentionally defrauding a bank, or attempting to do so, is a direct violation of Title 18, Section 1344 of the United States Code. Also, attempting to illegally obtain or interfere with any property, assets, goods or other items of value in the possession of or under the control of a federally insured bank constitutes a Title 18 violation.
The federally mandated punishment for this crime will vary depending upon the circumstances of each case, but the U.S. Code guidelines indicate that such punishment can reach up to a maximum of $1,000,000 in fines and/or up to 30 years in federal prison.
Consult With a Houston Bank Fraud Attorney
Defending against bank fraud charges is difficult because the defendant must take on the federal government.
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