Committing fraud against a bank or financial institution can result in federal criminal charges. This can mean a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. An accusation of bank fraud does not always result in a guilty verdict, and you need to understand how to respond if you have been charged with defrauding a bank.
A DC federal bank fraud lawyer can represent you while you are under investigation or if you have been charged. Contact a federal bank fraud attorney in DC for help with your case as soon as possible if federal authorities believe you may have committed bank fraud. By working with a federal white collar defense attorney, you can take a proactive approach to defending yourself against these serious federal charges. If you call our firm today, we will conduct your free initial consultation and gather the relevant details of your case.
Bank fraud is a felony under 18 U.S. Code Section 1344. The offense is defined as doing any of the following behaviors which may warrant contact with a DC federal bank fraud attorney:
In 2014, the United States Supreme Court interpreted the federal bank fraud laws very broadly. In a case called Laughrin v. United States, the court was asked to determine whether a defendant could be charged with bank fraud for trying to buy merchandise at Target stores with approximately $1,000 of stolen checks, most of which were intercepted by the staff at Target.
Although there was not any specific attempt by the defendants to defraud a bank, the Supreme Court said that bank fraud charges under 18 U.S. Code Section 1344 were appropriate because the actions of the defendants would “naturally” induce a bank “to part with money in its control.”
After this decision, virtually any fraud offense in which bad checks are written or stolen checks are used can now be prosecuted as a federal crime. Penalties for conviction under federal bank fraud laws can include 30 years incarceration and a fine up to $1,000,000. This is a very serious penalty, which now applies to a huge number of defendants if federal authorities choose to prosecute.
In order for you to be convicted of bank fraud, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of this offense. This means showing knowledge and intent to obtain money or property from a financial institution through some type of fraudulent means.
A DC federal bank fraud lawyer can raise a number of defenses include lack of intent; insufficient evidence of guilt; mistake; rightful claim to property; and entrapment. Your DC federal bank fraud attorney can also talk to the prosecutor on your behalf and try to negotiate a plea bargain in which the prosecutor agrees to charge you for a less serious offense or recommend a reduced penalty. With federal bank fraud laws applied so broadly now, it is a smart choice to have a legal advocate on your side. Be sure to contact a DC white collar bank fraud lawyer with experience handling these types of claims so you can have an attorney looking out for you.