Convicting an Individual or Business Entity of Bank Fraud

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

A Federal Law Article

By NJ Criminal Lawyer, David A. Schwartz

What Must the Government Prove to Convict an Individual or a Business Entity of Bank Fraud?

The United States Court of Appeals has determined the legal requirements that the Government prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – in order to convict you of the crime of bank fraud. These proof requirements are commonly referred to as “the elements” of the crime. Here is what the government must prove in a federal bank fraud case:

Bank Fraud – Elements of the Offense (18 U.S.C. § 1344)

As distinguished from mail fraud and wire fraud, federal bank fraud has a separate and distinct element that involves defrauding financial institutions.

In order to convict for bank fraud, a jury must find that the government has proved each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

First: That you knowingly executed a scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution, or that you knowingly executed a scheme to obtain the money, funds or other property owned by or under the control of name of financial institution by means of material false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises as detailed in the indictment;

Second, if you are charged with bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. §1344(1)), a jury must find that you committed the first element above, with the intent to defraud a particular financial institution and that the financial institution was insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or chartered by the United States.

If you are charged under 18 U.S.C. §1344(2), it is not necessary that the government prove that you knew or intended that the money, funds, or property was owned by or under the control of the financial institution.

Bank Fraud – “Intent to Defraud” Defined for Prosecutions Under Section 18 U.S.C. §1344(1):

The second element that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that you acted with the intent to defraud a financial institution.
To act with an “intent to defraud” means to act knowingly and with the intention or the purpose to deceive or to cheat.

In considering whether you acted with an intent to defraud, a jury may consider, among other things, whether you acted with a desire or purpose to bring about some gain or benefit to yourself or someone else at the expense of a financial institution or with a desire or purpose to cause some loss to the financial institution.

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