Bank & Check Fraud Defense Lawyer in the Greater Birmingham, AL Area
Facing fraud charges is enough to make most people panic, and for good reason—federal charges come with steep penalties. Chances are, if you are just now finding out that you’re facing charges, you have already been under investigation for some time. This means that now is the best time to hire an Alabama bank and check fraud defense attorney was yesterday.
A fraud conviction can inhibit your future career choices, leave you with massive fines to pay, and even put you in prison. Do not wait to secure a defense team. Call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500 to schedule a consultation now.
What is Bank and Check Fraud?
Federal bank fraud is a fairly broad crime that covers many illegal activities. This gives federal prosecutors plenty of leeway when it comes to charging individuals with crimes and making their charges stick. Under federal law, bank fraud is an attempt (successful or not) to defraud a financial institution or obtain the money or assets owned by the bank under false pretenses.
Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are protected under this law. This federal law is similar to the mail fraud statute, indicating an intentional choice to give federal prosecutors flexibility when it comes to pursuing charges. Rather than having to prove that perpetrators engaged in very specific criminal activity, prosecutors simply have to prove that you participated in fraudulent activity.
While bank fraud is a federal crime, you may also face charges at the state level. Check fraud in Alabama falls under general criminal fraud charges. Intentionally using a bad check—a “worthless negotiable instrument”—to obtain something with actual value is illegal. However, for this charge to stick, it must be clear that you knew or could have expected the check to be returned.
Examples of Bank and Check Fraud
With such a broad and vaguely worded law, it’s hard to know if what you’ve been accused of is truly “bank and check fraud.” Some of the many activities that constitute bank fraud include:
- Using shell companies to carry out fraudulent activity
- Hacking individual bank accounts
- Hacking the networks of banks and other financial institutions
- Directly stealing bank-held funds and assets
- Indirectly stealing bank-held funds and assets through deceptive means
- Identity theft committed with the intent of securing bank assets fraudulently
- Using insider information to perpetrate fraud against a bank
- Kiting checks or intentionally writing bad checks
You may notice that many of these crimes don’t seem to be exclusively bank and check fraud, and you would be right in thinking so. By structuring the laws in this way, the government makes it possible to hit major offenders with multiple charges, leading to decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Depending on the crimes committed, perpetrators may also be charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering.
Penalties and Consequences
The penalties you may face for bank and check fraud are staggering. To start, if you only face state charges for writing a worthless check, you only face misdemeanor charges. These are punishable by a fine and up to one year in jail.
However, federal bank and check fraud charges are incredibly serious. You face fines as high as $1,000,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years for just one charge. If you are being charged with multiple crimes, you could be in even greater danger of financial ruin or spending the rest of your life in prison.
Why You Should Choose Kirk Drennan Law
To start, you may wonder if you need an attorney at all. Some believe that the evidence against them is flimsy and that hiring an attorney makes them look guilty. To that we say that you are risking your entire future on an unlikely outcome.
Federal fraud charges cost a lot to prosecute and save the government lots of money when it recoups the money through fines. If a prosecutor has decided to pursue charges against you, you can assume that they already have a strong case against you.
Everything you’ve considered private in recent months or years—bank transactions, conversations, new accounts—may already be in a manila file folder in a prosecutor’s office. If you want any chance at avoiding or minimizing jail time and paying out as little as possible in fines, you absolutely need a federal fraud defense attorney.
Our team has extensive experience in the defense of federal crimes. We recognize that these crimes are an entirely separate category from state charges and that the stakes are much higher. We know that your future is dependent on how these charges are handled and we approach your case with that in mind. Our experience includes a wide range of federal cases.
Due to the breadth of research done by federal prosecutors, we also know that they already have a solid case against you. With that in mind, our goal is to figure out the extent of the charges against you, get an understanding of the accusations against you, and start building a defense.
Based on the information we uncover, we will explore a range of defense options for you. One defense is that the accused individual did not knowingly or intentionally commit fraud. Intention is a critical part of fraud cases. They must also prove that the falsifications you made in your efforts to perpetuate fraud were material enough to be criminal.
For example, consider a situation in which you lied to a bank to get a loan. They gave you the loan and later found out that you lied about your income or assets. However, an investigation uncovers that they made their decision based on other information, not the falsified information. In this case, even though you did falsify information, your fraud did not affect their decision to lend money to you. We’ll strive to secure a fair plea agreement or dropped charges for you.
Federal charges could follow you the rest of your life, so do not wait to secure a skilled and experienced defense team. We are ready to talk to you and start building your defense immediately. Talk to us now by calling us at 205-803-3500 or filling out our online contact form.