Fraud is a broad-sweeping term that refers to using deceitful methods to acquire money or good illegally. In the state of California, bank fraud is not a single charge under the law, but rather, refers to a variety of charges that involve the use of a bank (or in some instances, posing as one) in order to illegally funnel money for the purpose of personal monetary gain. If you have been charged with a bank-related crime, contact a bank fraud attorney at Okabe and Haushalter.
Under California Penal Code Section 476, it is illegal to defraud someone via check. This crime could involve several different elements, including generating a false check and passing it off as genuine, forging the signature on the check in order to obtain funds for yourself, or altering the amount on the check in order to obtain more funds than the check was actually written for. People convicted of generating false checks could also be charged with offenses related to posing as a financial institution.
Credit fraud and wire fraud are other bank-related crimes that can come with penalties ranging from moderate to severe if convicted. Credit fraud could involve misrepresentation of self as the owner of a credit card one does not actually own, and this could also be considered a form of identity theft. Wire fraud is a serious charge, as this charge is a federal offense. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, wire fraud is punishable by anywhere from 5 to 20 years in a federal penitentiary.
If someone creates a website (or generates a false check) posing as a financial institution like a bank or credit union in order to defraud people of money, they can be prosecuted not only for the actual funds defrauded in the alleged crime, but also for identity theft if they acquired the data of people in order to defraud them of money. Multiple parts of the California Penal Code could be applied in these cases, including Sections 484, 502, and 530.5, leading to multiple counts against the defendant.
Most bank fraud cases in California will be penalized as if they were forms of thievery. Depending on the amount of money transacted during the alleged crime(s), the accused party would be sentenced as if they had committed petit theft (if the transactions totaled less than 950 dollars) or grand theft (if the transactions totaled more than 950 dollars). Penalties for petit theft could involve small fines and short-term (6-month) jail sentences, while felony grand theft could result in years of incarceration and hefty fines. People who were previously convicted of similar crimes or whose crimes qualify as federal offenses face the most severe penalties of all.
You need a strong legal defense if you are accused of committing any of these crimes, and if you reside in the Los Angeles area, a bank fraud attorney in Santa Monica is just a click away. You can also call our offices right now for a free consultation with one of our criminal defense experts. The attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter can help you by providing a solid defense in the courtroom and negotiating a satisfying outcome for your case. Don’t wait another minute—contact us today.