Defending against accusations of bank fraud

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | White Collar Crimes

A tumultuous economy and skyrocketing inflation are causing millions of Americans to struggle for ways to stay afloat. Sometimes we make questionable financial decisions in order to get immediate relief or to find a creative angle to achieve a goal. The accusations of bank fraud that result usually happen when an individual has tried to find a loophole in the rules or accepted practice so as to beat the system.

Cases of financial fraud in New York and elsewhere have resulted in skyrocketing costs to the banking industry to pay for fraud detection measures against losses from fraudulent transactions involving:

  • Checks
  • Debit cards
  • Electronic payments

In 2018, bank deposit account fraud losses reached $25.1 billion, up 24% from 2016, and this did not include additional costs for detection, investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases.

Things do not always appear as they seem, however, and people do make honest mistakes. If you are under federal investigation for financial fraud, it is crucial to have aggressive legal defense in your corner as you fight unjust charges.

Bank fraud charges

Bank fraud is the illegal action to secure money, property, or other assets held in a financial institution. There are also related charges including trade or accounting fraud, which involves the bank or a representative of the financial entity falsifying information to create the appearance that it is secure and capable of receiving funds or investments from a third party.

Under 18 U.S. Code §1344, federal bank fraud charges are serious, and penalties can include fines of up to $1 million or 30 years in prison, or both. An investigation into bank fraud may involve the FBI, the office of the U.S. Attorney, or other agencies, and sometimes can go on for years, requiring individuals to spend thousands of dollars in retainer fees and court costs.

Common defenses against bank fraud charges

When pursuing bank fraud charges against an individual, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly or intentionally practiced deception by making false statements that the other party relied on to make harmful financial decisions. This is a very high bar to prove, and when the prosecution falls short, it is possible to dismiss charges or reduce penalties as part of a plea deal.