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What constitutes bank fraud?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2024 | Federal Crimes

Bank fraud is a white-collar crime involving deceptive practices to obtain money, assets or other property owned or held by a financial institution. Each year, thousands of people get charged with bank fraud. In fact, according to the ABA Banking Journal, banking fraud attempts increased by approximately 40% between 2020 and 2021.

Suppose you’ve been charged with bank fraud; having a solid legal defense is crucial. This is because any federal crime that results in a conviction risks serious penalties. But first, you should know what the prosecution has to prove to charge someone with bank fraud and to prosecute them successfully. This information will impact your defense strategy.

Proving intent

The prosecution must unequivocally prove that the accused had the intent to defraud the bank to secure a conviction for bank fraud. This necessitates a meticulous examination of the defendant’s actions and whether they knowingly engaged in deceptive practices with the purpose of causing financial loss to the bank.

Concrete evidence, such as correspondence, transactions or communication records, is pivotal in establishing intent. This evidence must be presented in a manner that leaves no room for doubt.

Material false pretenses

Another critical element in a bank fraud case is the creation or use of false pretenses. This can manifest in various forms, including:

  • The submission of false financial statements
  • Altered documents
  • Misrepresentations regarding the use of funds

The prosecution must draw a direct connection between the fabricated information and the accused’s financial gain. This establishes a clear motive for the fraud, further solidifying the case against the defendant.

Involvement of a financial institution

By its nature, bank fraud involves the fraudulent activities targeted at a financial institution. Proving that the alleged misconduct directly impacts a bank is crucial for a successful prosecution. The prosecution must demonstrate the adverse effects of the fraud on the bank, emphasizing the potential harm to its financial stability, reputation or customer trust.

If you’ve been charged with bank fraud, seeking legal support is important. A professional can help to ensure that the defense you present is as solid as it can be.