Financial Institution Fraud Attorneys
Nationwide federal criminal attorneys With Norman Spencer Law Group are highly experienced in financial institution fraud cases. Call our office today if you need to speak to a federal criminal lawyer!
Financial fraud is a general term in criminal law that encompasses a variety of criminal statutes. Our federal criminal attorneys are skilled at defending clients against any allegation of financial impropriety.
Criminal misapplication generally means that a person criminally misapplied the funds of a financial institution by willfully converting the funds for his or anyone else’s use, benefit, or gain, or the use, benefit or gain of a third party. The elements of criminal misapplication under 18 U.S.C. §656 are that the defendant must be an officer, director, agent, or employee of, or connected in any capacity with, a financial institution.
That the financial institution was a Federal Reserve System member bank, a national bank, a federally-insured bank, a Federal Reserve bank, a depository institution holding company, an insured bank, branch, agency of a foreign bank or a foreign subsidiary of a United States bank. Furthermore, the defendant must have willfully misapplied the bank’s funds or money, assets, or securities entrusted to the bank or entity, and they acted with the intent to injure or defraud.
The first two elements of the misapplication offenses are fairly simple to prove and are not typically contested. With respect to the first element, the government must prove a connection in any capacity between the alleged misapplication and the defendant’s status as an officer, director, agent, or employee of the institution.
The third element of a § 656 misapplication offense is more often challenged as it requires that the defendant must have willfully misapplied “money, funds or credits” of the bank or entity or “money, funds, assets or securities entrusted to the custody or care” of such bank or entity.
The fourth element of criminal misapplication or financial institution fraud requires the defendant to act with an intent to injure or defraud. While it’s not specifically listed in the statute, it is required by all federal courts. Most federal courts ruled that here the standard is that the defendant acted “knowingly” as opposed to “willfully” to prove the intent to injure.
Title 18 U.S.C. § 656 and 657 also apply to an insider who embezzles funds or property of a financial institution or its holding company.
Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom such property has been entrusted, or into whose hands it has lawfully come. Embezzlement can happen under several circumstances. Embezzlement offenses are very close to misapplication offenses, with very similar elements of the offenses. However, in order to convict the defendant for embezzlement, the government must prove that the defendant had lawful possession of the property in question.
False Entries in Financial Institution Fraud
18 U.S.C. § 1005 makes it a crime for officers, agents, or employees of a financial institution to make any untruthful entry in any document of that financial institution with the intent is to injure or defraud. To establish a false entry violation the government must prove that:
- (1) the entry is false
- (2) the defendant either personally made or caused the entry to be made
- (3) the defendant knew the entry was false
- (4) the defendant intended that the entry injure or defraud the financial institution
The same statute also creates a crime of “unlawful participation.”
To prove unlawful participation, the government must show that the defendant, acted with intent to defraud and participated or shared in or received, proceeds or benefits through a transaction with a financial institution.
Financial Institution Fraud & Bribery
18 U.S.C. § 215 is the bank bribery federal statute that makes it a crime to corruptly give, offer, or promise anything of value to any person, with intent to influence or reward an officer, director, employee, agent, or attorney of a financial institution in connection with any business or transaction of such institution. Also, as an officer, director, employee, agent, or attorney of a financial institution, to corruptly solicit or demand or corruptly accept or agree to accept, anything of value from any person, intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business or transaction of such institution.
For the government to prove guilt under this section, they must show that the defendant acted “corruptly”, meaning voluntarily and intentionally and with the ill intent to commit something unlawful.
Bank Fraud, 18 U.S.C. §1344
To obtain a conviction under Section 1344, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly executed a scheme to defraud or to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, any of the moneys or funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by or under the custody or control of a financial institution.
The government uses the bank fraud statute to prosecute many types of fraudulent conduct such as car title frauds, conversions of stolen checks, and ATM frauds. The bank fraud statute is also used to prosecute check-kiting schemes.
False Statements On Loan Applications & Financial Institution Fraud
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1014, it is a federal crime to knowingly makes a false statement or to willfully overvalue collateral in order to receive a bank loan. This statute is widely used by the federal government to prosecute cases in which defendants submit false information to obtain credit.
Check-Kiting and Float Schemes
In check-kiting cases, defendants use checking accounts at two or more banks. The checks are exchanged for checks of similar amounts. The scheme makes use of the delay as the checks are cleared through the Federal Reserve System, resulting in an inflated and uncollected balance at the bank. The funds that were deposited but yet uncollected (the floating funds) are used up at the time when the checks drawn against uncollected funds are in the clearing process.
The government also uses the mail and wire fraud statutes to prosecute check-kitting cases. Norman Spencer Law Group is a Nationwide federal criminal defense practice. Our attorneys are highly skilled in representing clients in all white-collar federal matters. Besides attorneys, our team consists of certified fraud examiners, forensic accountants, and former federal agents all willing to handle financial institution fraud cases.
When your livelihood and freedom are at stake, entrust your case to us. Call today for an immediate talk with one of our attorneys.