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Bank fraud: Understanding the federal offense

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2024 | Federal Offenses, White-Collar Crimes

Banks are some of the most important business entities in any economy because they keep the money flowing. By taking in deposits, they can provide loans to borrowers with interest.

It’s a crime to rob a bank, but that hasn’t stopped unscrupulous individuals from trying to siphon cash from banks through less direct and fraudulent means.

Bank fraud is a federal crime because – as established earlier – banks are integral components of the national economy. It’s also a federal crime because banks are insured by the federal government, such as through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Which actions constitute bank fraud?

There are several different ways a person could attempt to defraud a bank or its customers. Some of the more common approaches include:

  • Forging checks
  • Stealing checks
  • Taking out fraudulent loans
  • Committing identity theft to take money under another person’s name
  • Credit card fraud
  • Internet banking fraud

If a fraudulent offense involves a bank or financial institution, it’ll likely be prosecuted as bank fraud.

The legal repercussions of bank fraud

By law, a person convicted of bank fraud can face up to 30 years in federal prison. In addition, the fines the person must pay can reach up to $1 million for each instance of fraud. A court may also order offenders to pay restitution to their victims, if the fraud also affected a bank’s customers.

Offenders charged with other related offenses, such as identity theft, may also face additional punishments.

Bank fraud is a grave federal offense carrying severe consequences for those involved. If you are facing charges, it’s important to understand that a conviction will lead to years of prison and a criminal record. Consider seeking the help of a legal professional to understand your defense options in court.