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 James Davis. He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts and will vigorously fight for your rights and for your defense.