Defrauding a Bank: Federal Law

Defrauding a Bank: Federal Law

Being charged with defrauding a bank under Florida law is a serious offense. Depending on the circumstances and specific conduct that is alleged, a prison sentence of up to 15 years may be imposed. Penalties are even greater if charged with a violation of federal law.

The alleged conduct may be the same whether charged under state or federal law. It is the prosecutors who make the charging decision. In some cases, a person can be charged under both federal and state law for the exact same conduct.

Federal Law

According to the federal bank fraud statute, the elements of the offense are:

  • Knowingly executing, or attempting to execute a scheme or artifice to either:
  • 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.”

There are many different acts a person can allegedly commit that fall under the bank fraud statute.

Fraudulently Obtaining a Loan

Fraudulently obtaining a loan covers many acts. For example:

  • Obtaining a loan with the intention of immediately filing for bankruptcy so the loan will not have to be repaid.
  • Providing inaccurate information on an application for a bank loan.
  • Using a false identity in order to be approved for a bank loan.


There are many acts that amount to forgery. Just a few of them include:

  • Altering any information on the face of a check.
  • Changing the amount of a check, most commonly done by adding a zero to the end of the amount, such as changing $20 to $200, or adding a one in front of the amount, changing $100 to $1,100.
  • Forging the account holder’s signature on a check.
  • Stealing checks and opening a bank account in a fake name in order to deposit the checks.

Federal Penalty

A conviction under federal law for defrauding a financial institution carries a fine of “not more than $1,000,000″ or imprisonment for not more than 30 years, or both.

If you have been charged under federal or state law with defrauding a financial institution, you need to contact Jacksonville criminal defense attorney James Davis. He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts and will vigorously fight for your rights and for your defense.