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Bank Fraud

Bank fraud is generally defined as any crime that involves using fraudulent means to obtain money, assets or other valuables held by a bank. This broad term may include many other offenses, including:

If you are facing bank fraud charges, the penalties may astound you. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to explain the charges you are facing and help you prepare your defense. Connect with a criminal attorney by filling out the free case evaluation form on this page or calling us at 877-445-1059 for your consultation.

Bank fraud may occur by bank employees using their knowledge to skim money, or individuals trying to obtain access to money. It differs from crimes like robbery in that no force or threat of force is used. Instead, bank fraud often involves fake or stolen personal information, fraudulent accounting practices or other scams.

In many cases, bank fraud is committed by someone trying to obtain access to money belonging to the bank or someone else. In these instances, the offender uses stolen personal information ‒ like a debit card, personal identification number, bank account number, social security number or online password ‒ to gain unauthorized access to bank accounts.

Bank fraud may also be tied to other crimes. For example, a person using an email phishing scam to gain savings account numbers may also be charged with Internet fraud or wire fraud.

Bank fraud offenders may also use checks forged in their name, and they may counterfeit checks, currency, identification or other documents to gain access to money. Bank defrauders may pose as individuals with existing accounts, or create false identity out of thin air in attempts to obtain money.

At a high level, bank fraud may involve Ponzi schemes or other types of securities fraud, as well as the creation of false banks. In some cases, bank owners have pocketed money meant for investments or savings accounts.

Loan fraud

Loan fraud typically occurs when someone tries to get a loan through deceitful means that he or she would not, under normal circumstances, be eligible for. This may take the form of mortgage fraud. Often, the loan is taken out by someone with no intention of ever repaying the money. Loan fraud may also occur by:

  • A home appraiser over-valuing a home to achieve a bigger loan
  • Falsifying income to receive a greater loan
  • Borrowing a second “silent” mortgage to pay for the down payment on a home
  • Applying for a loan under a false identity
  • Stating that you will live in the house when you are planning on renting it or re-selling it

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Bankruptcy Fraud

On the flip side is bankruptcy fraud. In bankruptcy fraud cases, someone may try to file bankruptcy to avoid debts they never intended to repay. Or, they may try to protect their assets from seizure by creditors by hiding or transferring them.

Bankruptcy fraud isn’t always that complicated. Simple actions such as filing under a false name or giving any false information could also be considered fraud.

Frequently, bankruptcy happens in conjunction with loan fraud. In these cases, a person will take out a loan and then, when the bills are due and the money spent, file bankruptcy. People and businesses alike can be charged with bankruptcy fraud. Sometimes, a false business is constructed to gain access to more loans or more money, then files for bankruptcy.

The other typical occurrence of bankruptcy fraud is through the unlawful protection of assets. A person may legitimately file for bankruptcy, but, out of fear of losing possessions, property or money, will try to “hide” their assets. They may move investments to foreign banks, give possessions to friends or family members or simply not report owning them. In some cases, people have lost more assets by committing bank fraud than they would have if they legally and routinely filed bankruptcy!

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Bank Fraud Penalties

The penalties for bank fraud vary, but because bank fraud is a federal offense, anyone convicted can expect to pay for damages caused and money lost. In addition, fines upward of $1,000,000 could be levied, and jail sentences could be as much as 30 years.

Because of the tough penalties and the intricacies of fraud law, many people charged choose to stand up for their rights by contacting a criminal defense attorney.

Find an attorney near you today!

Bank fraud charges are serious business. If you’ve been charged, or think you may have committed a crime, you need answers right away. Speak with an attorney to get advice on your case. Simply fill out our FREE case evaluation form or call 877-445-1059 to find a lawyer near you.

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