Fraud Against a Financial Institution

Fraud Against a Financial Institution

Fraud against a financial instigation is committed when any fraudulent scheme is carried out with the intent to deprive another party of property. In an effort to combat financial institution fraud, Congress enacted the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA). The Act amended a number of criminal statutes and consolidated the Federal deposit insurance system to enhance the enforcement powers of regulatory agencies of Federal financial institutions.

What Is a “Financial Institution”?

As it is used under the FIRREA, a “financial institution” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 20 and includes any of the following:

  • An insured depository institution.
  • A Federal Reserve bank or a member bank of the Federal Reserve System.
  • A credit union with accounts insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
  • A Federal home loan bank or a member of the Federal home loan bank system.
  • A small business investment company (as defined in section 103 of the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. 662)).
  • A depository institution holding company.
  • A branch or agency of a foreign bank.
  • A mortgage lending business, or any person or entity that makes a federally related mortgage loan.


Understanding Financial Institution Fraud

The federal Bank fraud statute makes it a crime for anyone to knowingly execute, or attempt to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution or “to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises[.]” 18 U.S.C. § 1344.

It is important to note that the statute does not require that anyone actually rely on the fraudulent information or to be injured, financially or otherwise, by the fraudulent scheme. This significantly differs from many fraud crimes. As a general principle, to be convicted of a fraud crime it is necessary for a third party to rely on the fraudulent information and/or be actually injured by the execution of, or attempted execution of, the fraud scheme.

The broad language of the federal bank fraud statue means that what constitutes unlawful conduct is not clearly defined and gives rise to the prosecution of a wide variety of allegedly fraudulent schemes under this statute.

Contact a White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with fraud against a financial institution, contact our white collar criminal defense attorneys today. When we represent you, we will analyze and evaluate each detail of your case looking for ways that show you are not guilty of the crimes charged. Our firm is highly-respected for our ability to handle complex cases and defend our clients against the most aggressive prosecutors.

To protect your rights if you have been charged with fraud or any white collar crime, or are currently under investigation, reach out to Ashley D. Adams, PLC. We have the experience and resources that you need on your side.

Contact us or call now (480) 219-1366 for a consultation.


The attorneys at Ashley D. Adams, PLC handle state criminal cases throughout Arizona and federal criminal cases throughout the United States, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, and California.