Banks have a hair-trigger response about potentially fraudulent activity. How many times have you received a text message that said something to the effect of, “Is it really you making this transaction?” when you swiped your debit card at a store while you were traveling out of town? The bank might have even shut down your card unexpectedly because it suspected that you were not really the one making the transaction.
Despite the vast number of false positives, some fraudulent transactions still manage to make it through banks. In the context of criminal law, the term “bank fraud” can refer to a variety of activities related to making false statements to banks in furtherance of a financial transaction; in some cases, but not all, bank fraud is a felony tried in federal court.
If you are being accused of bank fraud, contact a Texas white-collar crime lawyer at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC.
The Many Manifestations of Bank Fraud
Federal law defines bank fraud as an attempt to deceive a financial institution, such as a bank, credit union, or mortgage lender. The following are some examples of actions that can result in accusations of bank fraud:
● Making false statements on a loan application
● Knowingly depositing a forged check into a bank account or attempting to cash a check that you know is forged
● Issuing a check drawn on an account where you know the funds are insufficient to cover the payable amount
Charges of bank fraud sometimes occur in connection with other criminal charges. For example, the same person could be charged with bank fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and conspiracy. Since many banking transactions cross state lines, especially in the context of electronic transactions, the case may go through a federal criminal court.
When Is Bank Fraud a Felony?
As with many financial crimes and other nonviolent offenses, bank fraud can be a misdemeanor, a state jail felony, or a felony, depending on the amount of money that changed hands under false pretenses and the circumstances surrounding the bank fraud. For example, a bank employee and three other conspirators who were indicted in March 2023 could face a maximum sentence of 30 years each in prison if all of them are convicted at trial. The bank employee from Missouri City is accused of transferring money to the conspirators’ accounts from accounts that did not belong to any of the defendants. A Laredo woman could face a similar sentence if convicted in her bank fraud case. The Laredo defendant allegedly obtained clients’ personal identifying information in her capacity as a tax preparer and used the clients’ information to initiate transfers of money to accounts that the defendant herself controlled. The defendants in these cases, like all defendants in criminal cases, are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases
A Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of financial crimes such as bank fraud. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, to discuss your case.