Federal Bank Fraud Schemes

Federal criminal defense attorneys defend people who are charged with a wide variety of crimes, including many white-collar crimes. One federal white-collar crime is federal bank fraud.


The main statute that covers federal bank fraud is 18 USC § 1344.  According to a bank fraud lawyer residents trust this statute provides:


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;

shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.


18 USC § 1344.

While there are many different ways that people can be found to have committed bank fraud it typically includes allegations of a  scheme to defraud.  Set forth below are a few of the schemes that can lead to federal charges for bank fraud:

  • Forgery – altering a check by changing the name to whom the check is made out to or the amount of the check;
  • Stealing checks (from post offices, mailboxes, businesses etc.);
  • Setting up fake financial institutions and luring people into depositing funds; and/or
  • Taking out a fraudulent loan, or purposefully providing false information to a bank in securing a loan.

The United States Attorney’s Office is the prosecuting authority in a federal bank fraud charge, and usually the federal agents involved are the FBI.  Sometimes certain conduct can be found to constitute bank fraud as well as other federal crimes, such as wire fraud and mail fraud.


Federal bank fraud charges sometimes get initiated with a grand jury investigation.  At that time, there are no formal charges brought, but if you are the target or the subject of the investigation, you may be approached by federal agents who try to speak to you.


If you or a loved one are approached by a federal agent, or threatened or charged with a federal crime, you need a federal criminal defense lawyer immediately.

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