Orange County Bank Fraud Attorney

Federal “Bank Fraud” Laws – 18 USC 1344

Under federal law, bank fraud is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1344, making it a crime to defraud a financial institution to obtain money or property.[1] A conviction is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. 

Bank fraud is among the most common crime charged by federal prosecutors. Federal investigators spend years investigating bank fraud cases due to the inherent sophistication involved. Indeed, the statute of limitations for most federal charges is five years. Accordingly, this allows federal agents more than enough time to build a case against you. 

Bank fraud contains an element of deceit on part of the defendant. Moreover, a defendant must have intended to defraud a financial institution. Prosecutors may allege that you directly frauded a banking institution or participated in a conspiracy

A bank fraud conviction can place someone in financial ruin. The government can seize all assets connected to illegitimate money. This may include your home, stock account, savings, and cryptocurrency accounts. 

A target in a bank fraud investigation may be alerted of its existence by:

  • Receiving a grand jury subpoena,
  • Closure of bank or stock accounts for no apparent reason,
  • Sudden revocation of your global entry,
  • A search warrant was served at your home or office,
  • Federal agents contact you in person. 

Typical federal agencies involved in bank fraud investigations include:


Federal agencies have enormous investigative power and resources at their disposal to ensure that suspects later stand convicted. Consequently, you must protect yourself with an experienced federal bank fraud attorney. Anytime you face bank fraud charges in federal court, you must enlist the help of an attorney who is knowledgeable in federal criminal law, procedure, and federal sentencing to ensure you are made fully aware of your options. Retaining an inexperienced attorney can cause irreparable harm to your case and future.

Attorney John Rogers is a board-certified criminal law specialist who represents clients in both state and federal court. His experience is verified by the state bar licensing authority. His primary concern is to protect his client’s freedom and avoid the devasting collateral conviction consequences. He stands prepared to intervene at all stages of the criminal process in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, and the rest of California. 


18 U.S.C. § 1344 allows the prosecution to charge someone by:

Knowingly engaging or participating in a scheme to obtain control of any assets a financial institution controls, including money, securities, or any other thing of value.

  • Intentionally engaging in artifice or making false promises or representations to obtain property or assets owned by a financial institution.
  • Knowingly engaging in any conduct or participating in any scheme designed to defraud a financial institution. 


The penalties for bank fraud are dependent on several factors listed in the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Moreover, your role in the offense, prior criminal history, and the loss figure is important factors the judge will consider at a sentencing hearing. 

Bank fraud is statutorily penalized as follows:

  • Up to 30 years in federal prison[2]
  • A maximum fine of $1,000,000
  • Supervised release for 3 years
  • Full repayment of restitution

Other collateral consequences may include:

  • A federal felony conviction on your record for life
  • A prohibition from owning or possessing a firearm for life
  • Suspension or revocation of your professional license
  • Adverse immigration consequences for Non-U.S. citizens
  • Seizure of your assets – home, stocks, bank accounts. 


Specific Intent

You can defend against bank fraud charges by claiming you acted in good faith in your attempt to comply with the law. Moreover, acts committed on accident, mistake, or that were the product of misfortune are viable since you did not harbor the specific intent. 

Constitutional Violation

How the government collected the evidence or was able to target you in their investigation may have occurred from a constitutional violation of your Fourth Amendment right. If the government violated your Fourth Amendment right, you can move to suppress evidence obtained as a result. Consequently, the prosecutor may be unable to proceed with their case. 


Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and it occurs when a defendant electronically transmits something to facilitate a fraudulent scheme. It has a maximum punishment of 20 to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. If the fraud was against a financial institution, the fine amount may be up to $1,000,000 for each offense. 

Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud occurs when someone submits false records to a financial institution or provides false information in a mortgage loan application. The acts are aimed at securing financing for real estate – i.e., mortgage. Mortgage fraud carries up to 30 years in federal prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and restitution.

Mail Fraud

Mail fraud is virtually identical to wire fraud. Wire fraud is a derivative from mail fraud since fewer people use a courier service or the U.S. Postal Service to conduct business or send communication(s). It is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1341 making it a crime to facilitate a fraud or scheme through the use of a package service. Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. If the fraud was perpetrated against a financial institution, then the prison sentence elevates to 30 years. 

PPP Loan Fraud

The Payroll Protection Program (“PPP Loan”) was created by the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Billions of federal dollars were dispersed by lending institutions to save small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The crime entails a defendant submitting false information to a financial lender to obtain a PPP loan. The FBI is overwhelmed with the amount of PPP Loan fraud investigations.

False Statement

Making a false statement to a lender is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1014. It criminalizes knowingly making a false statement or willfully overvaluing property or security to influence a financial institution. It is punishable in federal prison for up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. 

Aggravated Identity Theft

Aggravated identity theft is charged under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A making it a crime to use the personal identifying information of another without their consent. It carries a 2-year federal prison sentence that must run consecutively with any other charge(s).


  • Overstating your worth to obtain a business loan from a bank.
  • Submitting a bank loan for a fictitious company.
  • Applying for a credit card in someone else’s name.
  • ATM skimming – i.e., withdrawing money from an ATM machine using someone else’s debit card without their consent. 


If you are under investigation for federal bank fraud, then it is paramount that you secure legal representation. The government treats every fraud crime extremely seriously. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Orange County federal criminal defense attorney



[1] 18 U.S.C. § 1344 states, “Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice— (1) to defraud a financial institution; or (2) 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; shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.”

[2] Ibid.

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