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Defending Against Charges of Bank Fraud


Attorney Michael Cohen was President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, and he is under federal criminal investigation.  His legal troubles have brought bank fraud to into the public eye. It seems Cohen secured a couple of lines of credit, using real estate to secure the lines of credit.  Questions as to whether or not Cohen may have inflated the value of assets backing these loans, or whether he misrepresented his intentions as to how the monies would be used, have plagued Cohen. Is he guilty of bank fraud? Time will tell. Regardless of the outcome of the Cohen case, if you are being charged with bank fraud, you will doubtlessly require the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney here in Florida.

What Constitutes Bank Fraud? 

Cohen’s experience is but one of many faces of bank fraud. In fact, numerous acts could get one in trouble with the law for bank fraud. Unlike a bank robbery, perpetrators of bank fraud tend to commit their crimes with stealth, knowing that their secrecy is a key tool in successfully stealing from their victims. The longer their crimes go unnoticed, the more they can collect. Federal law considers one who purposefully defrauds any bank, credit agency, or other financial agency to be involved in fraudulent activity. This could include any number of actions, including, but not limited to:

  • Forging checks;
  • Fraudulent loans, taken with the intent of filing bankruptcy immediately;
  • Skimming credit cards;
  • Altering checks;
  • Creating a fraudulent web page that poses as a financial institution;
  • Identity theft;
  • Knowingly writing bad checks;
  • Inventing fraudulent companies;
  • Stealing credit or debit cards;
  • Misrepresentations on loan applications;
  • Phishing scams;
  • Impersonating a banking official;
  • Accessing bank accounts without authorization of the owner;
  • Fraudulent ATM deposits.

Consequences for Fraud

Penalties for bank fraud hang heavy over those accused of the crime, including:

  • Freezing accounts in question;
  • Fines of up to $1,000,000, and/or;
  • Imprisonment of up to 30 years.

A number of elements are considered as penalties for fraud are levied, including:

  • The criminal history of the defendant;
  • The amount of money taken fraudulently;
  • The degree of criminal intent;
  • The age of the victim.

Defending Against Fraud Charges 

There are really two basic approaches to the defense of bank fraud:

  • Demonstrating that there was no intent to participate in fraudulent or unethical activities;
  • Establishing that authorization was given to use the accounts in question.

Beyond these strategies, mediating the consequences for fraud are the final option.

When You Face Charges 

If you’ve been accused of bank fraud, you are looking at serious penalties. You need a serious, experienced attorney who is familiar with federal laws, is adept a record analysis, and is experienced in dealing with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal criminal court.  Attorney Deric Zacca has been practicing in criminal law for the past 20 years and has extensive experience in federal criminal court.  He is available for confidential consultations at his Fort Lauderdale office.