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Bank fraud

Las Vegas White Collar Crime Lawyer Tells What You Face If Charged with bank Fraud

bank account fraudBank fraud is a federal crime that can brings serious penalties and long jail times. If you have been arrested for attempting to defraud a bank, or for defrauding a bank, contact one of the criminal attorneys at LV Criminal Defense as soon as possible to begin defending you.

Legal Definition of Bank Fraud

Federal law defines bank fraud as knowingly:

  • Using a scheme or planning a scheme to defraud a financial institution;
  • To obtain money, credit, assets, securities, or other property owned or controlled by a financial institution;
  • Through false pretenses or fraudulent representations or promises.

What is a scheme to defraud a financial institution?

A scheme to defraud a bank is not the same as bank robbery. A bank robbery involves physically taking money away from a bank using force or the threat of force. A scheme to defraud a bank does not require a person to physically enter the bank. Instead, any of the following activities can be considered schemes to defraud a bank:

  • Creating and cashing or depositing fake checks;
  • Fraudulent accounting methods;
  • Diverting funds from the rightful owner’s account; or
  • Other false statements or omissions that result in loss of the bank’s money.

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What is required to prove that bank fraud was done knowingly?

The government must prove that a person acted intentionally to defraud the bank, and did not make an innocent accounting mistake, for example. In a 2014 United States Supreme Court case called Loughrin v. United States, the Court made two important rulings about intent:

  1. Even if the bank is not actually defrauded, but an attempt to defraud a bank was made, bank fraud charges are still appropriate; and
  2. Using bank instruments such as checks to defraud a store, even if the bank itself is not defrauded, also meet the intent requirement for a bank fraud charge.

Sentencing for Bank Fraud under Federal Law

Using federal law, a prosecutor in Nevada can ask for the maximum penalty for bank fraud:

  • Up to $1 million in fines; and
  • UP to 30 years in a federal prison.

More Information about Bank Fraud

Given the extremely long prison time and high fines available to a prosecutor in bank fraud cases, you should hire skilled criminal defense counsel in Las Vegas, Nevada, as soon as possible after your are arrested for bank fraud.

A conviction for financial and white collar crimes such as bank fraud can make it difficult to get employed in the future, which in turn makes it difficult to pay fines and restitution.

Bank fraud can take a long time to investigate. It can involve tens of thousands of pages of documents as evidence. A qualified defense lawyer can assess whether law enforcement obtained evidence illegally during this time frame, and can work to have this evidence thrown out. The less evidence that is available to the government in its case against you, the more difficult it will be to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed bank fraud.

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