Bank Fraud

The white collar criminal defense attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph have been retained to represent clients facing allegations of bank fraud violations in a variety of contexts.

First, the firm has represented numerous clients facing allegations of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344, which criminalize complex schemes to defraud banks and other financial institutions. Today, § 1344 has become a hugely popular tool for the government in white collar criminal cases, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis. In order to successfully prosecute a bank fraud violation under § 1344, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. There was a scheme to defraud a bank or other financial institution [or] to obtain moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or in the custody or control of, a bank or other financial institution by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises; and
  2. The defendant knowingly executed the scheme; and
  3. The defendant acted with the intent to defraud; and
  4. The scheme involved a materially false or fraudulent pretense, representation, or promise

The firm has also represented clients facing allegations of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014, which was designed to criminalize a less outwardly sinister variety of criminal conduct than § 1344. To obtain a conviction under § 1014, the government must prove first that the defendant made a false statement or report, and second, that it was done so for the purpose of influencing in any way the action of [a described financial institution] upon any application…. Unlike § 1344, the government need not prove that the false statement was material.

Like the bank fraud statute, § 1014 carries a maximum fine of $1,000,000 and a maximum prison term of 30 years. However, unlike the bank fraud statute, in recent years, we have seen § 1014 increasingly applied in cases where the bank suffers no financial loss, and the only financial service obtained by the defendant is a checking account. While the issue seems simple, § 1014 cases often involve highly complex facts and circumstances, not necessarily about the misstatements made to the banks, but rather about the general circumstances in which the bank and customer find themselves.

If you or your business has been accused of violating either of these federal bank fraud statutes, we urge you to take immediate steps to retain competent counsel and get to work on developing your defense. You may contact our white collar criminal defense attorneys at any time by emailing us at contact@fuerstlaw.com or by calling us at 305.350.5690.