Skilled Tennessee Defense Attorneys for People Charged with Bank Fraud
Aggressive defense strategies for clients in Sevier County, the Tri-Cities region, and throughout Eastern Tennessee
Federal statutes define bank fraud in very broad terms, which allows both the state and federal government a wide latitude in defining specific criminal charges. Because defrauding a financial institution is not considered a violent crime (like a bank robbery is, for example), bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and fines up to a million dollars. Because a conviction means you might have to go to prison and pay the fine, you should seek legal counsel immediately if you have been accused of defrauding a bank or financial institution.
The Sevierville-based fraud defense lawyers of Delius & McKenzie, PLLC have the skills, the experience and the resources to mount an aggressive defense on behalf of clients facing federal charges for white collar crimes. Whether you live or work in Sevierville, Seymour, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg or Greeneville, in the Tri-Cities area or elsewhere in Eastern Tennessee, we can develop a strategy that works for you.
What is the federal law for bank fraud?
Under 18 U.S. Code § 1344:
“Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice—
- to defraud a financial institution; or
- to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises” may be charged with bank fraud.
The word “knowingly” may be the most important part of a defense strategy for bank fraud charges. If you participated in a fraudulent act that you believed to be genuine (such as cashing a check or accepting funds from what you thought was a legitimate source), then you did not “knowingly” commit an act of fraud. This is, of course, a very simple explanation for a very complex legal issue, so if you are charged with bank fraud, you should seek legal counsel immediately.
Common examples of bank fraud
As more and more people turn to online banking, internet-based crimes – like phishing scams and hacking – have captured most of the media’s attention. There are a number of more “traditional” forms of banking fraud, however, which carry the 30 year/$1,000,000 penalties:
- Check kiting. When you deposit a check into your account, there is a period of time, called the “float,” where both Account A (from which the check was written) and Account B (into which the check is deposited) both register those funds as being present. Check kiting occurs when a person withdraws funds from an account which he or she knows will not be able to cover the amount of the check.
- Advance fee scams. This type of con involves Person A asking Person B to deposit a check into Person B’s account (for whatever reason), and then wiring the money to Person A. The check, however, has been stolen, forged or fake. Person A just committed bank fraud, and Person B is left in a lurch.
- Forgery. Creating false checks, altering a check in some way, or creating a copy of a check or bank document are all examples of forgery. So is signing another person’s name to a check, a loan or other bank document.
- Lying about licenses and/or insurance. In the U.S., banks must be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate (FDIC), or other such provider, and must be licensed by the Treasury Department. If a financial institution lies about being licensed and/or insured, its operators may be charged with bank fraud.
- Mailroom theft. If you steal checks (or other bank documents) from a mailroom or a post office, you can be charged with bank fraud.
- Identity theft. Identity theft in and of itself is a crime, but if you use this new identity to open new accounts, withdraw money from existing accounts, open credit cards to take cash advances, etc., you can be charged with bank theft, or with defrauding a financial institution.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, our Sevierville bank fraud defense lawyers understand how easily people can be swayed into committing unintentional acts of fraud. You think you’re doing a favor for a friend, or your trust the person with whom you do business, and the next thing you know, you’re embroiled in a fraud investigation.
We also know that sometimes, things aren’t that cut-and-dry. Our team of attorneys is well-known throughout Sevier County, the Tri-Cities region and in Greeneville for aggressive, proactive advocacy on behalf of our clients. If you have been charged with defrauding a financial institution in Tennessee, we are ready to fight for your rights.
Experienced Tennessee attorneys protecting people charged with bank fraud
Delius & McKenzie, PLLC offers comprehensive representation to clients charged with white collar crimes like bank fraud. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation with an experienced Sevierville bank fraud defense attorney, please call 865-428-8780 or fill out our contact form. We are proud to represent clients in East Tennessee, including those in and around Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport, Greeneville, Seymour, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.