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What could happen if you are accused of bank fraud?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2019 | criminal law | 0 comments

If you are accused of bank fraud in Pennsylvania, the prosecutor is required to prove that there was an intent to acquire funds from a bank through fraudulent means. With a successful prosecution, you may be facing a punishment of up to 30 years in prison and a substantial fine. In one case, as reported by PennLive, a Pennsylvania woman and former Jersey Shore State Bank employee was indicted on three charges of bank fraud and embezzling. The Clinton County resident was accused of stealing more than $52,000 from a customer who held a certificate of deposit at her bank. She was also charged with transporting stolen property because some of the funds were electronically transferred to out-of-state credit card banks. The jury, however, acquitted her on two bank fraud charges, sparing her from a lengthy jail sentence.

While working as an assistant branch manager, the defendant purportedly embezzled the customer’s funds for her own personal gain. The man had a CD at her bank, and when it reached its maturity, the defendant promised the customer, who was also her friend, that she would place the money into a CD at another bank in an account under her own name. The customer testified he allowed the defendant to do this so that he could show he had fewer assets and qualify for free health care. As her friend, he also assigned power of attorney to her and named her as the beneficiary to his will.

Instead of placing the money into a new CD, however, the charges state she deposited the funds into her personal checking account and used them to pay loans and bills. The prosecution argued for jail time accusing her of violating her position of trust with a customer of the bank. It was also noted that she lied to bank officials and the FBI agents who were carrying out the investigation. The defendant apologized and claimed she only lied to save her job.

The judge in this case decided that the defendant showed remorse because she borrowed money to pay the customer back when he asked her for it. The judge determined the defendant was not a threat to society and would not repeat her behavior. He sentenced her to the less than one day of lockup time she already served when arrested, one year of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service.

In Pennsylvania, a bank fraud charge might be classified as a misdemeanor if the money allegedly stolen is an insignificant amount. If the amount is high, however, it may be considered a felony, which might include jail time and restitution.

This information is provided as a general idea of what can occur when someone is accused of bank fraud, but it should not be interpreted as legal advice.