Bank Fraud Defense Attorneys
The federal bank fraud statute encompasses two distinct but interconnected forms of fraudulent activity. Firstly, 18 U.S.C. §1344(1) generally prosecutes individuals who knowingly engage in schemes to defraud financial institutions. Alternatively, 18 U.S.C. §1344(2) is more specific, targeting individuals who knowingly execute schemes to acquire money, credit, or other assets belonging to or controlled by a financial institution through false pretenses. If you’re facing charges under this statute in Arizona, a qualified attorney from our team can assist you. Let our skilled criminal lawyers prepare a robust defense and guide you through the legal proceedings.
Convictions Under the Federal Bank Fraud Statute
To secure a conviction under 18 U.S.C. §1344(1), a prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly carried out or attempted to execute a scheme to defraud a federally insured or chartered financial institution. Additionally, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant employed a material misrepresentation or act of concealment in perpetrating the alleged offense.
In the case of § 1344(2), the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly executed or attempted to execute a plan to defraud a federal financial institution by using materially false representations or fraudulent pretenses to obtain money or property controlled by the government.
While the statutory language may appear broad, defenses to these charges are available. For example, not every misrepresentation made to a bank or financial institution is sufficient for a conviction. Instead, a misrepresentation is considered material only if it has the potential to influence the bank’s actions. Furthermore, both subsections’ ‘scheme to defraud’ element demands more than a simple act. It requires the prosecutor to establish that the defendant engaged in a “pattern or course of conduct designed to deceive a financial institution into releasing property.” Lastly, not all financial institutions qualify for protection under this statute, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 20, which includes insured depository institutions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, credit unions with accounts insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, federal home loan banks, small business investment companies, the Federal Reserve bank, or a member bank of the Federal Reserve System, and mortgage lending businesses. An attorney well-versed in federal bank fraud statutes can help individuals defend against such charges.
Penalties for Federal Bank Fraud
The consequences of a federal bank fraud conviction are severe and may result in substantial prison sentences as well as substantial fines. If convicted, the court can impose fines of up to $1,000,000. A court may also order a maximum prison term of 30 years, either in lieu of or in addition to the fine. Additionally, a convicted individual may be required to pay restitution to the affected financial institutions.
Furthermore, a person facing such charges may also face additional penalties, as many of these offenses are accompanied by other charges. For instance, it is common for charges of attempted and conspiracy to commit fraud under 18 U.S.C. §1349 to be filed alongside bank fraud charges. A federal defense attorney in Arizona can assess the case and determine the potential penalties for the defendant.
Factors Considered in a Federal Bank Fraud Sentence
While federal law defines the penalty procedures for bank fraud accusations, the judge may take various aspects of the case into account when determining the final punishment. These may include whether the accused has prior convictions and the specifics of the alleged offense. If the fraud involves a substantial sum of money, the offender may face more severe penalties than if the financial loss to the institution was minimal. An Arizona attorney should consider these mitigating and aggravating factors in a federal bank fraud case.
How a Defense Attorney Can Help in a Federal Bank Fraud Case
The most critical step for someone charged with federal bank fraud is to retain an experienced attorney in Arizona to construct their defense. A defense attorney can provide legal counsel, ensuring the accused comprehends their rights and options under the law. They can leverage a wealth of resources and legal expertise to create a robust defense and pursue the best possible outcome for the accused.