By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
What is Bank Fraud?
Bank Fraud can be committed a number of different ways. Because banks are federally regulated – the federal government can typically step in and prosecute if they wish over state authorities.
Some common scenarios where bank fraud is accused are:
- Utilizing false or sham companies for the purposes of banking;
- Illegally accessing and breaching bank computer networks;
- Illegally accessing bank customer data;
- Identity theft;
- Taking bank funds through other illegal means;
What is the Punishment for Different Types of Bank Fraud?
Like most federal penalties – there is an extremely broad range of punishment and typically the lynchpin question is how much money is involved. 18 U.S.C. 1344 is the primary bank fraud statute and it provides for punishment up to 30 years of prison and a fine not to exceed $1m. But what is more important to evaluating the severity of a bank fraud case is the punishment range on the federal sentencing guidelines. The single biggest factor is the amount of the intended loss to the financial institution. Other factors include the role the individual had in the scheme, if any.
Additionally, bank fraud cases can also be accompanied by a host of other federal criminal charges such as money laundering and income tax evasion.
Time is Critical
With all federal prosecutions – time is crucial. There is no substitute in federal cases for having an immediate and open dialogue with federal prosecutors and investigators. It can be the difference between being alleged to be the center of a conspiracy, an outside player in a conspiracy – or even making sure the government knows you’re not part of a conspiracy at all.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has been designated as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.