Bank Fraud: A Detailed Look


In today’s blog, we take a detailed look at a common white collar crime—bank fraud.

With bank fraud being a hot topic again thanks to what’s going on over at Wells Fargo, we decided that it was time to provide our readers with the ultimate guide answering the most common questions we get about bank fraud.

Bank Fraud in the News

According to a recent article on CNN, the CEO of Wells Fargo recently denied that there was an orchestrated attempt by Wells Fargo to commit bank fraud. In a statement prepared for his testimony, he notes that he wants “to make very clear that there was no orchestrated effort, or scheme as some have called it, by the company.”

Despite his insistence that he will not step down, Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for him to do just that, noting that what has happened at Wells Fargo in recent months is an overwhelming example of fraud.

What Is Bank Fraud?

Legal Dictionary defines bank fraud as “a criminal act that occurs when a person uses illegal means to receive money or assets from a bank or other financial institution.”

More specifically, they go on to elaborate that

“In the United States, a criminal charge of bank fraud generally applies when an individual knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, an act (1) in order to defraud a financial institution, or (2) to receive money, assets, credits, securities, or property from a bank or financial institution using false information, pretenses, or insincere promises.”

Who Investigates Bank Fraud?

This answer isn’t quite so simple. The truth of the matter is that a number of different institutions might investigate bank fraud. Sometimes this is done at a local level, sometimes it’s done from within the bank itself, and other times the United States Secret Service does the investigating.

Legal Dictionary notes that “in its role as bank fraud investigator, the Secret Service investigates such crimes as counterfeiting, identity theft, check fraud, automated payment systems fraud, direct deposit fraud, [and] check forgery and alterations.”

Back to Bank Fraud in the News

Going back to what’s going on with Wells Fargo, an article from New York Mag notes that it’s not likely that anyone who works (or worked) for Wells Fargo will ever see jail time.

While Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf insists that there was no orchestrated effort to defraud its customers, others disagree. The previously mentioned New York Mag article notes that, “Wells Fargo will have to pay out $100 million to the CFPB, plus $85 million to other authorities, for a pattern of fraud, dating back to 2011, in which its employees opened up a vast number of new checking and credit accounts without account holders’ consent or knowledge.”

In the eyes of many, a pattern of fraud is another way of saying that there was some type of orchestrated attempt in one way or another to deceive customers in order to open new accounts.

The end result of all of this is a resounding response of “it’s complicated.” That is certainly true; in fact, the ins and outs of bank fraud and everything it entails require a helping hand.

If you are facing charges of bank fraud, the most important piece of advice we can give you is to start looking for a good bank fraud lawyer. Having the right team in your corner will make all the difference in the world.

The Newark Bank Fraud Lawyer You Can Trust

Here at the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot, we have the experience you need on your side if you’re facing bank fraud charges. Our founding lawyer, Robert J. DeGroot, has over four decades of experience in criminal defense. That means that in an area where things aren’t always clear, our team has the knowledge you need in order to get the outcome you’re looking for.

If you’re in need of help, we’re here for you. Take a look at our page on bank fraud in order to get more information and then contact us online for a free initial consultation where we’ll go over the details of your case, hear what you have to say, and provide you with advice on your next steps. When you need a competent team of hardworking professionals on your side, you can count on the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot.