Bank Fraud

Bank fraud in Miami typically involves using fraudulent actions to secure a bank's financial resources. It can include criminal conduct such as writing bad checks as well as lying on a loan application. Most often, Bank Fraud charges accompany other criminal charges like mail fraud, mortgage fraud and/or wire fraud. In some instances, the government will additionally charge money laundering and/or tax evasion and look to recover assets from the accused.

A person can commit bank fraud in numerous ways. Many of these systems are more complicated, involving multiple people or institutions, with tougher penalties than others. Along with the common crime of stealing checks or the misdemeanor/felony of writing bad ones, popular forms of banking fraud include:

  • Impersonating a bank - A single or multiple individuals operate as a financial institution to trick people into depositing money, either by setting up fake companies or developing websites.
  • Forgery - Forgery happens when a person modifies a check by altering the name or any other facial detail. Changing the check sum, such as adding another zero, will convert a check for $200 check into one for $2,000, bringing a greater amount of cash into the forger's pocket. Signature forging for the purpose of cashing or depositing a check falls is also a form of forgery.
  • Loan fraud - A person who intentionally takes out a loan with the intent of immediately filing for bankruptcy is committed a type of bank fraud. This also holds true if the borrower uses a false identity to get a loan accepted, or commits forgery on a loan application.
  • Internet fraud - As far as bank fraud is concerned, internet fraud happens when a persondevelops a website with the intent of posing as a bank or other financial institution to acquire money deposited in a fraudulent way.

Any form of fraud imposes serious penalties on the perpetrator, the extent of which also depends on the monetary amount of the fraud, whether the fraud was perpetrated against a protected class of individual, and if the crime is known as a state or federal crime.

Bank fraud is typically a federal offense as the majority of banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), a government program that covers banks and other financial institutions and the deposits made by their customers.

For a bank fraud crime to be tried successfully, the following items must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • A scheme for defrauding a bank or other financial institution [or] for obtaining capital, funds, credits, properties, securities or other property owned or under the custody or control of a bank or other financial institution through false or fraudulent statements, representations or promises
  • The scheme was knowingly carried out by the defendant
  • The defendant acted with the intention of defrauding
  • The scheme involved a significantly false or fraudulent assertion, representation or pledge

Individuals may be fined up to one million dollars and may receive a potential jail sentence of more than 30 years for committing bank fraud. Those under investigation for bank fraud must understand how to manage the criminal justice system effectively.

Because of the economic damage caused by devious banking activities leading up to the financial downturn in 2008, there has been a significant clampdown on bank fraud cases. Through prosecuting individuals and bank managers in all aspects of bank fraud cases, the public and prosecutors have taken a strong position. Since these lawsuits can be brought at the federal and state level, the proceedings can be drawn out and in fact complex.

The general information provided above about bank fraud in Fort Lauderdale is meant for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for speaking directly with an attorney about the facts and circumstances of your case. Please call 954.500.0003 in Broward or 305.674.0003 in Miami to schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh.

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