View More

Bank Fraud & Embezzlement

Bank fraud is typically a federal crime and defined as a person or entity knowingly executing or attempting to execute a scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution or obtain money or property under the institution’s control using false pretenses.

Embezzlement is larceny through which an individual exerts control over property they were entrusted with.

Attorney Harlan Protass has more than 20 years of experience representing individuals accused of financial fraud and embezzlement. To schedule a free consultation, call Call (212) 455-0335 or reach out online.

Federal Bank Fraud

The federal statute regarding bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1344, is intentionally broad. A gimmick or scheme encompasses any plan created to deceive based on false or fraudulent claims. It can range from providing inaccurate financial statements to impersonating someone.

The term “financial institution” also encompasses several entities, including a:

  • Credit union
  • Insured depository institution
  • Federal home loan bank or a member
  • System institution of the Farm Credit System
  • Small business investment company
  • Depository institution holding company
  • Federal Reserve bank or a member bank of the Federal Reserve System
  • Branch or agency of a foreign bank
  • Mortgage lending business

To be convicted of bank fraud, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you successfully defrauded a financial institution or attempted to. Any attempt must include a material misrepresentation to the financial institution. The prosecutor does not have to prove you obtained control over money or property to convict you.

Federal Embezzlement

Federal embezzlement is outlined under several statutes in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 31. Essentially, embezzlement constitutes a person fraudulently taking control of property they were legally entrusted with by the rightful owner. Federal embezzlement laws focus on the theft of property from the federal government or property owned by a private entity yet purchased under a federal contract.

New York Charges: Bank Fraud & Embezzlement

State and federal statutes tend to overlap with regard to fraud and embezzlement. For example, bank fraud is typically charged under U.S. law because of the federal government’s involvement in most financial institutions. Whether you face federal or state charges for embezzlement often depends on the rightful owner of the money or property involved.

Embezzlement from private individuals and institutions in New York may be charged under NY P.L. Article 155.00. The degree and subsequent severity of the charge depending on the type and value involved.

Bank Fraud & Embezzlement Penalties

The potential punishment if convicted of bank fraud or embezzlement under federal law depends on the circumstances. The details, including the value involved, will significantly influence sentencing.

Federal law provides you may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines for bank fraud. Embezzlement under U.S. law is typically punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines equal to the value of the property involved.

For a New York larceny conviction, the maximum term of imprisonment and fines depend on its felony classification. For example, Grand larceny can be charged as a Class E, D, C, or B felony and result in up to four, seven, 15, or 25 years in prison, respectively.

Defending Against Bank Fraud & Embezzlement Charges

Defending against federal or New York charges regarding bank fraud or embezzlement is challenging and requires an exhaustive review of the accounts and transactions in question. However, a knowledgeable and meticulous defense attorney can challenge evidence, attack the theory or elements of the crime, demonstrate that you lacked the necessary intent to defraud, and otherwise establish reasonable doubt.

Potential bank fraud and embezzlement defense strategies include:

  • Fourth Amendment violations
  • The statute of limitations expired
  • Lack of intent to defraud
  • Lack of a scheme involving a pattern or course of conduct
  • A misrepresentation was not material
  • The alleged victim was not a financial institution under federal law

Speak to an NYC Bank Fraud & Embezzlement Lawyer

The best way to handle white-collar criminal charges related to alleged financial fraud and any investigation is to partner with an experienced attorney. Protass law PLLC can look into the matter and get started on your defense immediately.

Don’t speak with agents or investigators. Instead, call Call (212) 455-0335 or contact us online immediately to set up a free and confidential consultation.