The federal definition of bank fraud is rather broad and it is a criminal act that occurs more often than you might realize. Under federal law, bank fraud occurs when a person deliberately engages in a secret scheme or deception to take money or assets from a bank or other financial institution. A conviction under the federal statute is very serious. It can result in a fine of up to $1 million, up to 30 years in prison, or a combination of the two.

Oftentimes, it is performed electronically so that the person isn’t anywhere near where the crime actually occurred. In this way it is distinguishable from bank robbery, where a person physically enters the bank itself and commits robbery, usually accompanied by a threat or act of violence. Bank fraud is a white collar crime because it is a financially motivated and nonviolent crime.

Types of Bank Fraud

There are many ways that someone can commit bank fraud. In fact, most of us have, or at least know someone who has, been affected by it in some way. Sometimes they are very complicated and affect entire organizations and high-asset individuals. Other times, it comes across as just a minor annoyance when you get an alert from your bank telling you there is unusual activity on your account. The different types include:

  • Bank Impersonation – This is when someone actually acts as a financial institution in order to trick people into depositing their money into their fake accounts. They can do this in several ways like setting up a fake company or website.
  • Stolen Checks – In today’s electronic age, stealing a check might seem a bit old school. But lots of companies still use checks to pay their employees or vendors. To do this, a person might get a job that will provide them access to the company or individual’s mail, like at the corporate payroll company.
  • Check Forgery – This type of bank fraud occurs when someone alters the important information on a check. This also includes when someone forges a person’s signature or adds a zero to fraudulently cash the check or deposit it into their own account.
  • Fraudulent loans – This is when someone takes out a loan knowing that they will immediately be filing for bankruptcy. It also happens when someone forges information on a loan application or uses a false or stolen identity in order to get approved.
  • Internet Fraud – Internet fraud can be categorized as bank fraud when when someone makes a website and poses as a bank or other financial institution with the goal of taking money deposited by other people.

Sabrina Puglisi has experience with criminal bank fraud charges, and has succeeded in achieving positive outcomes for her clients charged with these types of crimes. If you or someone you love has been charged or convicted of criminal bank fraud, please contact our Miami office at (305) 403-8063 or visit us at