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Banking Fraud
by John M. Roberts

Bank fraud is a very serious criminal offense that carries a stiff penalty under federal laws that are included in the Federal Bank Fraud Statute, Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 63, Section 1344. Criminal activity centered around the banking and lending industry has made it necessary to institute tough laws that deter people from participating in such crimes.

Title 18 of the U.S. Code covers banking fraud committed by those who attempt to defraud financial institutions of money, assets, credits, securities, and other property by means of check-kiting scams, fraudulent pretenses, misrepresentations, money laundering, credit card fraud, check forgery, counterfeiting, bribery, lying on loan applications, and other offenses.

A bank fraud penalty may result in up to 30 years or more imprisonment, One million dollars in fines, or both. The punishment is stiff for such offenses and the criminal justice system works hard to maintain control over the dignity of banking and lending institutions.

Although it may appear that bank fraud crimes are committed by hardened criminals, that's not necessarily the case. Many of those who become involved in committing such illegal offenses are ordinary citizens who, for one reason or another, decide to do something that they would not ordinarily do, such as writing bad checks or fraudulently cashing checks that belong to someone else.

Something as simple as signing someone else's name on a check is a crime, even if it is for a child or someone who is incapacitated and cannot sign for themselves. In certain situations such as if a power of attorney has been granted or if a court has ruled that it can be done, a person may sign for someone else. In most other cases, signing someone else's name on a check is considered forgery and can result in stiff fines.

Most people don't think of defacing or copying currency as criminal activity but it is. If you copy money on a copy machine, it can be construed as counterfeiting. Counterfeiting is considered one of the worst criminal offences in regards to banking fraud and if you are caught making counterfeit money and/or knowingly spending or passing off counterfeit money, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Banking fraud often occur from a lapse of good judgment, greed, or desperation. In some cases, it is a well thought out scheme perpetrated by people with criminal minds who think they can outsmart the law. But in most cases, even the smartest criminals eventually get caught and are prosecuted.

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