What Is Bank Fraud?

Bank fraud is the potential unlawful acquisition of money, property, or other valuables from a financial institution such as a bank or a credit union, or it can be defined as the acquisition of money, property, or other valuables by misrepresenting oneself or their business as one of the aforementioned financial institutions. 

This is a crime that is distinctly different from bank robbery in that it often contains fraudulent behavior or some type of potentially illegal scheme in order to be conducted. 

The recent economic downturns — both today’s and the economic crisis of 2008 — caused an increase in the number of bank fraud-related activities. With that increase in activity comes an increase in the scrutiny of such conduct by state and federal prosecutors. 

This process can be tough to navigate, stressful on families and individuals who may have little experience with the justice system. It’s important to have trustworthy support from legal counsel if you’ve been charged or if you’re being investigated for crimes related to bank fraud. 

Bank fraud as a criminal charge can contain a wide variety of different actions, including:

  • Accounting fraud
  • Document forgery
  • Check fraud
  • Loan and/or mortgage fraud
  • ATM fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Money laundering
  • Phishing
  • Unauthorized trading
  • Wire fraud
  • And more

Have you or someone else you’re close with been investigated for crimes relating to bank fraud? You deserve to know the facts! 

The Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot have been in practice for nearly fifty years, and have spent that time garnering a respectable reputation for not only providing the citizens of New Jersey and New York with the legal counsel they deserve, but have spent that time protecting their rights and their freedom at the state and federal levels against accusations of fraud and other white collar crimes. You deserve the facts, and that’s just what we provide!

What penalties could I face for being accused of bank fraud?

Though it does depend on the severity of the alleged crime, bank fraud is largely considered to be a federal crime. 

Bank fraud is defined as such in Title 18 of the US Code in reference to crimes such as fraudulent loan applications, check forging and check kiting (the latter of which being the intentional writing of a check for a sum larger than what is contained in its associated account), credit card fraud, as well as many other crimes. 

Individual charges, if proven, can bring with them fines up to one million dollars and up to 30 years in federal prison. This is considered a very serious charge, and state laws can also apply. 

What should I do if I’ve been accused of bank fraud?

Secure your defense attorney. And do it now. If you’ve been accused of a crime associated with bank fraud, then you need legal representation immediately. 

If you’ve already spoken to the authorities, then we highly recommend you make no further statements until you’ve secured legal counsel and have been advised by your attorney to do so. 

Any statements made that have not been cleared by your defense team could jeopardize your ability to create a sound legal defense and potentially erode your ability to protect your freedom. 

What should I share with my attorney if I’ve been accused of bank fraud?

In short, everything. And we’re not kidding. There’s no better way to jeopardize your case than by withholding information from your attorney that might someday be presented by the prosecution. 

Bank fraud-related crimes are typically very document heavy, so any documents, computers, hard drives, or any other devices — digital or otherwise — that might contain information pertaining to your case must be shared with your criminal defense attorney so that they may use this information to create a defense that counters the prosecution’s narrative against you. 

Can I share information about my case with friends and family?

As tempting and as natural as it feels to share information about your case with loved ones, we advise that any and all details related to your case be kept between you, your defense team, and anyone your legal counsel deems appropriate for inclusion. Narrowing the scope of those involved in your case will also ensure that information about your case stays out of social media, the press, and other venues that might accidentally taint a jury pool or influence your case in a public forum. Having the support of your loved ones is crucial during a time like this, and having the legal guidance you deserve will help ensure that your freedom, personal reputation, and your best interests are protected.

How do I find the right bank fraud attorney for my case?

We encourage you to read reviews of attorneys who have successfully defended cases just like yours. Do these firms align with your values? Is their payment structure clear? Do they make you feel like your case is as important to them as it is to you? They should do all of these things and more! And that’s precisely what the team at the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot does with every client on their roster. You get the best defense, because you have the best defense by your side!