Bank Larceny Charges: Why You Need an Experienced Financial Crimes Attorney
Being charged with bank larceny can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. These charges carry serious penalties like hefty fines and years in prison. Having an experienced financial crimes attorney on your side is crucial to understand the charges, build the strongest defense, and get the best possible outcome for your specific case.
What Constitutes Bank Larceny?
Bank larceny refers to the theft of money, funds, or assets from a bank or other financial institution. It falls under the broader category of bank fraud. Under federal law, bank larceny is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(b), which covers the taking and carrying away of funds belonging to a bank with intent to steal or purloin.
Some examples of bank larceny include:
- Stealing cash from a bank teller or vault
- Forging checks or money orders to withdraw funds
- Electronically transferring funds without authorization
- Stealing account information to make unauthorized withdrawals
- Embezzling money as a bank employee
The key elements prosecutors must prove are:
- The defendant took money or property belonging to a bank
- The taking was done with intent to steal or purloin
- The bank’s deposits were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Penalties for Bank Larceny
Bank larceny charges are very serious. If convicted, penalties can include:
- Up to 10 years in federal prison
- Fines up to $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for organizations
- Restitution to the victimized financial institution
- Forfeiture of assets involved in the crime
Sentencing will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and your criminal history. But because bank larceny is a felony, you want to avoid conviction and minimize penalties as much as possible.
The Legal Process: What to Expect With Your Bank Larceny Case
If you’ve been charged with bank larceny, it’s normal to feel anxious and uncertain about the legal process ahead. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect:
- Arrest and booking – If police have probable cause to make an arrest, you’ll be photographed, fingerprinted, and held until seeing a judge.
- Initial court hearing – Within 48 hours of arrest, you’ll appear before a judge who informs you of the charges against you and your rights. Bail may be set at this hearing.
- Preliminary hearing – Early in the case, the judge determines if there’s enough evidence to proceed. Your lawyer can argue to dismiss the case if the evidence is weak.
- Grand jury hearing – The prosecution must present evidence to a grand jury to obtain an indictment moving the case forward. Your lawyer can testify before the grand jury on your behalf.
- Arraignment – You enter a formal plea of guilty or not guilty at your arraignment. Not guilty pleas lead to further pretrial procedures.
- Pretrial motions – Your attorney can file motions challenging evidence, requesting dismissal of charges, or seeking reduced bail.
- Plea bargaining – Rather than trial, most cases end through plea bargains negotiated by the attorneys. You plead guilty in return for lesser charges or lighter sentencing.
- Trial – If no plea deal is reached, your case proceeds to trial where your lawyer presents evidence and arguments before a judge or jury who determine guilt or innocence.
- Sentencing – If found or pleading guilty, the judge determines penalties and monetary restitution after considering sentencing guidelines and arguments from the attorneys.
While the legal process can seem intimidating, an experienced attorney will guide you through each step and advocate aggressively on your behalf. Don’t go through it alone.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Financial Crimes Lawyer
If you or a loved one is facing bank larceny charges, it’s crucial to hire the right attorney. Here are important questions to ask:
- How much experience do you have handling bank larceny and financial crime cases specifically? You want someone well-versed in the nuances of these cases.
- What is your track record of success in getting charges reduced or dismissed for clients facing bank larceny allegations? Check verifiable stats.
- Are you familiar with the prosecutors and judges in my jurisdiction? Local relationships can be invaluable.
- What legal defenses could apply in my case based on the specifics? Look for expertise in building defense strategies.
- If my case goes to trial, what is your trial record? Have you taken financial crime cases to trial before?
- Will you personally handle my case or pass it to an associate? You want the expertise of the attorney you hired.
- What are the total legal fees and costs I can expect to pay if I hire you? Get fee estimates in writing.
- Can you provide references from past clients charged with financial crimes? Speaking to former clients can be telling.
Choosing the right lawyer for your bank larceny case might be one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Asking the right questions up front is key to making the smartest choice.