In most cases, a white collar criminal investigation will result in an indictment at the federal level. Cases are tried in federal court when they involve inter-state currency or laws being breached in more than one state. If you’re convicted of a crime related to bank fraud, you might face enormous professional, personal, and legal consequences. When you’re tried in federal court, your potential penalties are more severe than the ones you’d face if you were charged in state court. If you’ve been accused of a white collar crime, you need to make sure you get in contact with an attorney who’s knowledgeable about the USSG (United States Sentencing Guidelines).
Bank fraud is defined as a crime that occurs when an individual illegally receives assets or money from a bank. When another financial institution is involved, the crime still falls under the bank fraud umbrella. Most bank fraud occurs when the people deliberately involve themselves in a secret deception or scheme that’s intended to defraud the bank in question.
For the crime of bank fraud to be applicable, the following criteria must be met:
There are multiple ways that bank fraud might be committed. These include, but are not limited to:
Bank Impersonation – This occurs when an individual or multiple individuals pretend to be a bank or financial institution. Sometimes, this will involve creating fake companies or websites that lure unsuspecting victims into depositing their money.
Stolen Checks – In some cases, people will obtain jobs that give them access to the mail of victims. This might involve working at the post office, a mailbox store, a corporate payroll company, or a tax authority. After they steal a person’s checks, they deposit the checks by opening a bank account under a fake name.
Forgery – Most commonly, people will commit forgery by changing the information on a check. They might also alter the amount written on a check. If someone forges a signature on a check, it also falls into the forgery category.
Fraudulent Loans – A person will take out a loan even though they know that they’re about to file for bankruptcy. A fraudulent loan charge also applies if an individual uses an assumed identity or incorrect information in an effort to get a loan approval.
Internet Fraud – For an internet fraud crime to count as bank fraud, the defendant must create a website that poses as a financial institution or bank. This is done in an effort to make people deposit their money into the fake bank.
For the most part, the severity of bank fraud is determined by the amount of money that the individual defrauded. Sometimes, extenuating circumstances will also affect the severity of the fraud charge. For example, fraud charges might be more severe if the defendant specifically targeted the elderly or other vulnerable populations.
If you face the most severe bank fraud charge, you could be looking at up to thirty years in prison. You might also face additional charges on top of the bank fraud charge. You need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. At your arraignment, you’ll be told exactly what charges have been leveled against you. Your attorney will understand the charges and help you strategize for the best way to go forward.
In many cases, you might be able to plead down to a lower charge. If the case goes to trial, it might be tried before a grand jury rather than one judge. Circumstances will be different depending on if you’re charged at the state or federal level.
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