Tampa Bank Fraud Lawyer
Bank fraud is a serious criminal charge which can easily sweep in unwitting participants in a fraudulent scheme. Under federal law, anyone convicted of even a single count of bank fraud faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Because most fraudulent schemes involve multiple fraudulent acts, a defendant could easily spend the remainder of their life in prison. Hiring a Tampa bank fraud lawyer is key to protecting your liberty.
The Federal Bank Fraud Statute
The federal statute can be found at 18 U.S.C. § 1344. It states that a person has committed bank fraud when they knowingly execute or attempt to execute any scheme to defraud a financial institution. It also prohibits obtaining money or other assets (like securities) from a financial institution using fraudulent promises or representations.
This is a broadly written law. All sorts of illegal conduct could be prosecuted as bank fraud:
- Altered checks
- Forged checks
- Stolen checks
- Credit card fraud
- Credit card skimming
- Debit card fraud
- Loan application fraud
- Identity theft
- Mortgage fraud
- Internet banking fraud
- Phishing scams
Defending Against Bank Fraud Charges
Those accused of bank fraud should immediately contact an attorney. Because penalties are so steep, a vigorous defense is justified, and a bank fraud defense attorney needs as much time as possible to pull together a compelling defense.
The right defense will depend on the facts of the case. At our firm, we avoid “cookie cutter” defenses which might work for some cases but not others. In our experience, the most common defenses are raised to defend against bank fraud charges:
- The defendant’s lack of knowledge. By its very language, the law requires that the defendant knowingly execute or attempt to execute a scheme. Some people, including low-level bank employees or straw purchasers, might lack the knowledge that they are participating in a scheme to defraud a financial institution. Likewise, negligently presenting a bad check to a bank teller is not enough to support a conviction if you did not know the check was stolen or forged.
- No false pretenses or misrepresentations. There is no violation of the law if the defendant made only accurate representations. For example, the information on a loan application could have been correct at the time the application was submitted.
- The prosecution’s lack of evidence. Prosecutors need high quality evidence, including testimony from credible witnesses, to garner a conviction. Investigators might have illegally obtained evidence, which we can get tossed out of court, or the prosecutor could lack evidence on a crucial element of the case.
Unfortunately, some defendants hand incriminating evidence to investigators on a silver platter by turning over laptops voluntarily or answering police questioning. If the police or FBI reach out to you, contact a bank fraud attorney. All suspects have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
Contact Our Tampa Bank Fraud Attorney Today
An indictment is not a conviction. Anyone accused of a federal crime deserves experienced legal counsel to defend them and hold the prosecution to its burden of proof. Contact Trombley & Hanes today to speak with an experienced Tampa bank fraud lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions for Tampa Bank Fraud
Is Bank Fraud a Federal or State Crime?
Bank fraud is described as participating in a scheme to defraud a financial institution. It is a federal crime to defraud a bank or participate in a scheme to defraud the accounts of a financial institution.
While bank fraud charges are federal, there are a variety of Florida state criminal charges related to bank fraud charges that may sometimes be charged in conjunction with federal bank fraud charges.
What Are the Potential Consequences of Being Convicted of Bank Fraud?
Being convicted of a single count of bank fraud can result in a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a $1,000,000 fine. U.S. Attorneys are often determined to bring multiple bank fraud charges in one Indictment and to charge related offenses such as Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Identity Theft, resulting in convictions for multiple fraudulent acts that can lead to life sentences behind bars. In addition to extensive jail time, individuals may face severe fines, restitution orders, and damage to their personal and professional reputations.
What Evidence Is Typically Used in Bank Fraud Cases?
All bank fraud defense cases are unique, but common forms of evidence gathered and presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office may include but are not limited to, financial records, transaction records, communication logs, witness testimonies, proof of digital signatures or online credentials, and expert opinions.
Should I Hire an Attorney If I am Being Investigated for Bank Fraud in Florida?
Yes. If you are being investigated for bank fraud, you have rights, and the only way to ensure they are protected from the start of your case is to hire a skilled bank fraud attorney in Tampa. At Trombley & Hanes, our law firm specializes in white-collar crime, bank fraud, and other federal defense cases. We can help you understand your rights, build a strong defense, and precisely navigate the legal process.
What are Some Common Defenses Strategies Against Bank Fraud Charges?
All bank fraud cases, and the defense strategies designed for the accused, are unique. However, some of the most common defenses against bank fraud charges may include lack of evidence to identify the accused if the fraud was committed through wire or otherwise remote, lack of evidence of intent to defraud, mistaken identity, , proving that the transaction was legitimate, and challenging the U.S. Attorney’s case based on legal technicalities.
How Long Does a Florida Bank Fraud Investigation Take?
The duration of a bank fraud investigation can vary significantly based on the case’s complexity, the amount of evidence involved, and the parties’ cooperation or lack thereof. Our experienced bank fraud lawyers in Tampa will outline your case to include a timeline of events and updates as the legal process unfolds so you understand how we anticipate the following steps to produce the best outcome for your unique case.
Can I Be Charged with Bank Fraud When I Work for a Financial Institution?
Yes. Bank employees can be charged with fraud if they engage in fraudulent activities or schemes to defraud the bank or its customers. Employee bank fraud is common and will involve more than the individual losing their job; it may lead to significant criminal charges.
What Should I Do If I Am Wrongfully Accused of Bank Fraud?
If you believe you are wrongfully accused of bank fraud, consult with our dedicated white-collar crime defense attorneys at Trombley & Hanes today to discuss your case. We can guide you through the legal process and help you develop a defense strategy to protect your rights and innocence.
What Should I Do If I Know I Am Guilty of Bank Fraud?
If you are being investigated for, or have been arrested and charged with bank fraud, do not speak to investigators, law enforcement, or anyone from the U.S. Attorney’s Office without a skilled bank fraud defense attorney. Even if you know you may have committed bank fraud, these charges are far-reaching and can change your life with a single admission of guilt. Partner with our leading bank fraud lawyers in Tampa today to learn more about your legal rights and options so that you can make informed decisions about the direction of your case.
Will My Bank Fraud Case Go to Trial?
It depends on the specifics of the case. Bank fraud cases can be settled through negotiations between the defense and the prosecution, leading to a plea bargain or an agreed-upon resolution. However, if we believe your case is strong enough to win at trial, we will move your bank fraud case inside the courtroom, using our impactful litigation experience and skills to pursue the best outcome.