Tampa Bank Fraud Lawyer
The federal government aggressively protects the banking system, and to that end Congress passed 18 U.S. Code Section 1344, which criminalizes bank fraud. Prosecutors are not afraid to bring bank fraud charges, even when the facts are in dispute and a defendant is possibly innocent. At O’Mara Law Group, we defend those accused of bank fraud, but you need to contact us as soon as possible to begin building an appropriate defense.
Bank Fraud Defined
The federal law makes it illegal to defraud or attempt to defraud a financial institution or to gain money, assets, or other property from a financial institution using false information or promises. This is a broad statute which applies to a wide range of conduct.
Our Tampa bank fraud lawyer has seen prosecutions based on:
- Forged or altered checks
- Stolen checks
- Falsified or forged loan applications
- Loan applications using a stolen identity
- Accounting fraud
- Bankruptcy filings immediately after obtaining a loan
Something as innocent as creating a website that closely mirrors a financial institution’s site could also draw the attention of the federal investigators.
Stiff Penalties for Those Convicted of Bank Fraud
Any type of fraud is a state crime, but because banks are federally insured, any bank fraud almost surely garners federal charges. If convicted, a person can face steep penalties:
- Up to $1,000,000 in fines
- Up to 30 years in prison
- Loss of important civil rights as a convicted felon, such as the right to vote or the right to possess a firearm
The exact penalties a defendant faces depends on many factors, such as the amount stolen and who was targeted, along with the defendant’s criminal history. But anyone charged with bank fraud could face considerable time in the federal penitentiary.
How to Defend Against Bank Fraud Charges
Because so much is on the line, defendants need the best representation possible. Never forget: the prosecutor bears the burden of proving a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on all elements, and we hold prosecutors to their burden.
To be convicted of bank fraud, the defendant must have “knowingly” committed the crime. In short, innocent mistakes should not be grounds for a prosecution. Someone who accidentally provides inaccurate financial information on a loan document should not be prosecuted. Trying to cash a forged check also should not result in criminal charges—so long as the defendant did not know the check was forged.
Because so much depends on the defendant’s state of mind, we encourage suspects to decline to speak to the authorities. There is no reason to hand the prosecutor evidence on a silver platter. Instead, immediately contact a lawyer to review the facts of the case.
Speak with a Seasoned Tampa Bank Fraud Lawyer Right Now!
As soon as the police come knocking on your door, you should retain an attorney. Mark O’Mara is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer in Florida with decades of experience defending clients from state and federal fraud charges. Contact the O’Mara Law Group today to schedule a consultation.