Bank Fraud – 18 U.S.C. § 1344

At its core, bank fraud involves a scheme to defraud a financial institution. Bank fraud can cover a wide variety of conduct such as:

  • Check kiting
  • Mortgage and real estate fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Counterfeiting and forgery
  • Credit card fraud
  • Mail and wire fraud
  • Falsifying information
  • Embezzlement
  • False entry in a bank record
  • Money laundering
  • Bank fraud conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 1349)

Sometimes, you may be charged or investigated for bank fraud even though you made an honest mistake. The government will not always accept your explanation. It is important to consult with a white collar attorney experienced in federal bank fraud prosecutions before speaking to the government.

At Burnham & Gorokhov, PLLC, we have extensive experience representing individuals charged with or under investigation for bank fraud. Our past clients include senior bank officers, loan officers, borrowers, certified public accountants (CPAs), and other individuals charged with or under investigation for bank fraud and related financial crimes. In many cases, we have been able to help clients avoid prosecution altogether.

Basics Of Federal Bank Fraud Law

Like most white collar crimes, bank fraud charges are very fact-sensitive. It is critical to have an experienced white collar attorney with bank fraud experience to look at your case closely. We are available to counsel you on the facts of your particular case.

The federal bank fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1344, defines bank fraud as knowingly executing or attempting to execute a scheme or artifice 1) to defraud a financial institution; or 2) to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by or under the custody or control of a financial institution by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.

In every case, it is important to determine exactly what conduct the federal prosecutors allege actually constitutes bank fraud and to determine whether that conduct falls within the scope of the bank fraud statute.

It is also important to be aware of how federal courts have historically interpreted this statute. Courts interpreting the law have established possible defenses that are not apparent from the face of the statute. For example, the government must prove that an individual acted with intent to defraud, and actions taken in good faith provide a complete defense. Similarly, the government must prove that the alleged fraudulent misrepresentations were “material” — meaning that they were capable of influencing the financial institution. These are only two examples of potential defenses to bank fraud allegations. If you are facing federal bank fraud charges, it is critical to have an experienced white collar bank fraud attorney closely evaluate your case to determine what defenses may apply.

Penalties For Bank Fraud

Conviction for bank fraud carries imprisonment of up to 30 years and/or a fine of up to $1 million. In addition, federal prosecutors will often seek forfeiture of assets. The amount of loss to the financial institution can have a profound impact on your sentence. Even if you are guilty of the charge, it is imperative to consult with an experienced bank fraud attorney who can effectively advocate for you at sentencing.

Bank Fraud Attorneys

If you believe you may be facing bank fraud charges, we can offer you a free consultation to discuss your case.

To schedule a free phone consultation, please call our office in Washington, D.C., at 202-386-6920. You can also complete the online contact form.