Bank fraud is a broad category that covers a variety of offenses. You could be charged with bank fraud if you give incorrect or incomplete information on a loan application that influences that lender’s decision to extend credit. Such fraud may also occur if you steal a debit or credit card and use it to purchase items or for some other benefit.
What Are the Penalties for Bank Fraud?
There are many different potential penalties for those convicted of bank fraud, and most of them are quite severe. First, you may be sentenced to a prison term of up to 30 years in a federal prison. Second, you could fined up to $1 million if convicted of a more serious fraudulent activity like being a rouge trader or attempting to influence a Forex market. Finally, it is possible that you will be required to pay back any money that you obtained through fraudulent means.
What Are Some Potential Defenses to Bank Fraud?
Several elements must be proven by a prosecutor to successfully convict you of bank fraud. One element that needs to be proven is that you intended to commit fraud or that you knew that what you were doing was illegal. For instance, if you wrote a check thinking that you had the money to cover the transaction, that wouldn’t be fraud even if the check bounced.
However, it would be fraud if you knew that there was insufficient funds to complete the transaction or used stolen money to cover the check. In addition to intent, it may also be necessary to show that the money was actually stolen as opposed to borrowed with the intent to be repaid over time.
Finally, it may be possible to argue that you were acting on the orders of a superior or were otherwise being compelled to commit fraud. While you may still be guilty of a crime, it may be possible to obtain a plea bargain in a case that may keep any penalties to a minimum. It may also be possible that you are given immunity if you cooperate with authorities.
How Can an Attorney Help Those Charged With Bank Fraud?
If you have been charged with bank fraud, you are going to want to hire an attorney to help you fight the charge. An attorney will pour over documents and other evidence that was used to determine that you may have committed a crime. An attorney may also look over witness statements or take depositions of their own to help clear your name.
Legal counsel will also play a role in jury selection in your case. This means that your attorney will take steps to find those who seem most sympathetic to your case or most likely to see things your way. If a prosecutor knows that a specific set of jurors could be on your side, it may be increase the odds of negotiating a plea in your case.
During trial, your attorney will make sure that evidence is suppressed or otherwise presented in a positive light. You may be asked to testify in the case in your own defense. However, this is entirely your decision, and it may not be in your best interest to testify depending on how you may be perceived by the jury.
Bank fraud is a serious crime that may come with serious consequences. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to clear your name or at least get through the case with your reputation intact no matter how it ends. This may be done through the help of legal counsel who will tell you about your rights and how to navigate the legal minefield that you may find yourself in.
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