In a struggling economy, the prospect of financial ruin can lead some to make questionable financial decisions. White-collar crime, or more specifically bank fraud, can often begin with a seemingly harmless attempt to get the best angle on beating the system.
Unfortunately, too many are in on the game. According to the American Bankers Association, bank deposit account fraud stood at $25.1 billion in 2018, up 24% from 2016. The majority of this figure includes the high cost of fraud prevention measures.
Bank fraud charges are serious, and the accused can be tried at the federal or state level in New York. Because there are many charges that fall under the heading of fraud, fighting charges requires attorneys knowledgeable not only of the terminology of the financial industry, but also the complicated defense strategies necessary to fight them.
What is fraud and what are the charges?
Bank fraud entails the fraudulent attempt to secure funds, property or other assets that are held by a financial institution. A version of this can also include trade or accounting fraud, in which a bank or those representing the bank falsifies information so that the bank appears secure and ready to receive funds and investments from a third party.
When someone is accused of bank fraud at the federal level, either the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office or another Federal agency is investigating potentially illegal activity under 18 U.S. Code § 1344. This statute carries stiff penalties of up to $1 million for each charge and up to 30 years in jail.
In addition to federal charges, the New York Penal Code has a wide range of fraud charges that can lead anywhere from a B misdemeanor for issuing a bad check, to an E felony for identity theft, scheming to defraud and numerous other charges.
How do you defend yourself against fraud charges?
Proving fraud means that the government or prosecution must establish that the defendant knowingly and intentionally made false statements that another party relied on, and that in the process the other party suffered a financial loss as a result. Often the most difficult charge to prove is intent.
Examining the government’s evidence and how it has been obtained, as well as the charges, is crucial in mounting a defense against bank fraud. Having an experienced legal team to navigate the complexities of federal and state laws and sentencing is essential to getting the best outcome in a federal or New York fraud case.