How Can You Defend Against Bank Fraud Charges? 

Posted on in Fraud

chicago bank fraud lawyerIt is easier than you might think to find yourself facing federal bank fraud charges, even if you did not intend to do anything wrong. The problem with fraud cases is that a prosecutor must prove that you were knowingly trying to defraud a financial institution - when you may have in fact have unknowingly made a mistake on some paperwork. Facing federal charges is a frightening experience. You may be afraid of long prison terms, asset forfeiture, and loss of a career or your reputation in the community. These fears are reasonable. It is important that you are represented by an experienced attorney during any federal criminal proceeding. 

What Are Some Defenses to Bank Fraud? 

To convict you of federal bank fraud, the government will have to show that you knowingly defrauded or attempted to defraud a bank or obtained or tried to obtain assets from a financial institution through fraudulent means. The operative word is “knowingly.” Forgetting to list an old debt on a loan application, or absentmindedly writing your nickname on an official form could be construed as attempts at fraud, despite being inadvertent, if careless, mistakes. 

The most common defenses to federal bank fraud are based around a lack of intent. It is impossible to prove with certainty what was going on inside your head at the time you performed the act that allegedly constituted fraud. However, that is often the issue a bank fraud trial is decided based on. It may take the skill of an experienced attorney to successfully raise intent-based defenses, as there is often little evidence beyond your own statements. 

Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may suggest raising the defense of mistake. This defense is exactly what it sounds like - you simply made a mistake filling out paperwork. You forgot about a credit card you had a long time ago, or you miscalculated your income. These things happen, but it can be difficult to tell a deliberate fraud attempt from an accident. 

Similarly, your defense lawyer may simply argue that you lacked intent. Innocent explanations sometimes exist for what appears to be criminal behavior at first glance. People may fill out a bank document thinking that they are helping an elderly parent, or inadvertently submit an incomplete form they were working on with their spouse only to be shocked by criminal charges. It is quite easy to be caught up in an alleged bank fraud scheme without even realizing you had made a mistake. 

Call a Chicago Bank Fraud Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with federal bank fraud over a paperwork error, you will want an experienced and careful legal advocate by your side. The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel represents clients charged with federal white-collar crimes including bank fraud. Our Chicago federal criminal defense attorneys take our clients’ rights seriously and will fight to defend you at every stage in your case. Call 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. 



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