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Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:21 pm
Hey folks, it’s your resident legal eagle Todd Spodek dropping some knowledge about federal bank fraud statutes. Now I know most of you aren’t shady bankers cooking the books (at least I hope not!). But on the off chance you’ve found yourself accused of a financial crime, it pays to understand the lay of the land. Let’s dive in!
The federal bank fraud law is Title 18 U.S.C. Section 1344. In plain English, it basically means it’s illegal to knowingly carry out a scheme to defraud a financial institution or obtain money under their control through false statements or fraudulent representation.
It’s intentionally deceiving a bank or credit union to get them to fork over cash they wouldn’t otherwise. And it’s a felony charge that can land you in prison for up to 30 years! No slap on the wrist.
Some examples include:
If it involves dishonestly getting money from a bank, it likely falls under federal jurisdiction. And they take it very seriously considering the crucial role banks play in our financial system.
While check fraud can be part of a bank fraud scheme, they aren’t necessarily the same thing. Bank fraud requires the specific intent to deprive the bank itself of money through deceptive means.
With check fraud, the intention may simply be to improperly get your hands on someone else’s money temporarily. For instance, cashing a fake check drawn on someone’s account without their permission.
Bank fraud is directly targeting the financial institution as the victim of the plot. Check kiting schemes designed to artificially inflate balances are a classic example. The perpetrator isn’t necessarily out to steal someone’s identity or assets – they want to trick the bank into lending money or approving transactions.
Now hold your horses just a minute. If you simply messed up some figures on a home loan application, or your paperwork had an innocent error, that does not amount to intentional bank fraud.
Prosecutors have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you deliberately meant to mislead the financial institution and understood your actions were fraudulent. Honest mistakes don’t count.
And if a sneaky banker pressured you into a sketchy loan or financial product you didn’t fully comprehend, you may actually be the victim, not the criminal mastermind.
When a bank detects potential fraudulent activity, they will conduct an internal investigation. If the loss exceeds $5,000, they must also file a Suspicious Activity Report with the federal government. If federal agents suspect an organized criminal operation, they may take over the investigation.
The FBI and U.S. Secret Service both have jurisdiction to probe bank fraud under the Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. They have tools like subpoenas, search warrants, and phone taps at their disposal during these complex investigations.
As a suspect, you may be under surveillance without even realizing it. That’s why it’s critical you exercise your right to remain silent until you have an experienced federal defense lawyer like myself advising you. Otherwise you could make bad mistakes that tank your case!
If you’ve been charged federally with bank fraud, all hope is not lost. There are a variety of solid defenses we may be able to employ, such as:
Inquiring minds want to know, how can you hope to beat an army of federal agents and prosecutors? Because I know how to exploit weaknesses in the government’s case even when it seems airtight. For instance, I can:
Rest assured the sneaky federals have overplayed their hand plenty of times before, and we’ve capitalized on it!
Now listen here folks – although the potential federal penalties for bank fraud sound mighty scary, realistically the punishments are all over the map based on the specifics of each case. Plenty of variables impact sentencing, which a knowledgeable lawyer can explain. I won’t let you go into this blind!
By working closely with you to understand every aspect of your case and identify possible defenses, I can develop a strategy aimed at achieving the best possible outcome.
My goal is always keeping you out of prison if at all possible. In some cases we may be able to negotiate probation and restitution instead of jail time even in federal cases. I know the system and how to work it to your advantage.
So don’t fret – despite what the federals say, you’ve got rights. I’m here to protect them and vigorously defend you at every stage. We’re going to undertake every effort to poke holes in the government’s case until they’re sinking faster than the Titanic!
If you or someone you care about is caught in the crosshairs of a federal bank fraud investigation, give me a holler at (212) 300-5196 for a free case evaluation. You need an experienced federal defense lawyer on your team. With my insider know-how, we’ll try and turn the tables on those sneaky federals! Visit https://www.nyccriminalattorneys.com/free-case-evaluation/ to get started today. I’m always here when duty calls!
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