I do a lot of federal bank fraud cases in the Central District of California, which is basically Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Santa Barbara.
A lot of people are facing prison time because they're involved in some sort of bank fraud, whether it be someone who works in the bank, someone who works for a business and is using a bank.
There's a whole host of different ways that somebody can be arrested and charged with bank fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1344.
The answer to the question is, you're absolutely going to federal prison if you're charged with bank fraud. Because if you weren't looking at going to prison, if the case was not that serious, then the feds wouldn't be dealing with it.
They would just pass the case off to the state and let them deal with it.
Avoiding Federal Prison Time
In my experience, just by virtue of the fact that the feds are dealing with the case, you've been charged, you're facing federal charges and you're facing federal prison as well.
So, ways to try to avoid federal prison, of course the most obvious way, is that you're able to show through your attorney, that you're innocent. This can be done by sitting down the government and:
- giving them your side of the story, and
- basically showing them that their investigation was not effective, and
- they didn't get all of the proper information.
Now, that they've got all of the proper information, you shouldn't be charged with bank fraud. That's possible, but not that easy though.
A lot of times, that's just simply not something that's going to convince them if they've arrested you, done their due diligence and charge you with bank fraud.
Plea Bargaining with Federal Prosecutor
Another way to make a run at avoiding federal prison, obviously, is to have no criminal record and the loss involved with the bank fraud is not to be that great. Because the more the loss, the more time you're facing because in addition to the base offense level for a bank fraud charges:
- there's also enhancements based on the amount of money that either you took. or
- you intended to take related to the bank fraud charges and that can jack-up your sentence significantly.
If, for example, it's over a million dollars, that triggers an enhancement that adds enough on there to really make it a high probability that you're going to end up in prison.
Ultimately, when it comes to a federal case, the prosecutors will weigh-in and they will submit a Sentencing Memorandum to the judge and your defense attorney will do the same thing.
The probation department will weigh-in as well and they will make a recommendation based on available information to the judge as to what they think your punishment should be for the bank fraud in a federal case.
Then, the judge, having all that in mind and their own free will and their own common sense in mind, will make the decision whether or not to send you to prison, and if they are going to send you to prison, for how long.
Crucial Factors to Avoid Jail Time
There are a couple of big factors that can help you in a bank fraud case:
- you could pay the money back.
- you can cooperate with the government.
If you're able to pay the money back, that puts you in a very powerful position to make a run at getting no federal jail time or at least minimizing your time.
The second thing that you could possibly do, depending on the type of case, you could cooperate with the government.
Meaning, you could give them information to catch other people who might be involved in bank fraud, whether it be in your particular case or another case.
Sometimes that's really just not feasible for someone to do because they don't have the information or they don't want to give the information because it's dangerous if they give the information.
But that is definitely another way to avoid federal prison.
Federal Criminal Defense for Bank Fraud
So, if you or a loved on is charged with bank fraud at the federal level, pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.
I've been doing this for almost 30 years.
I've handled many federal cases — many bank fraud cases. I stand at the ready to help you.
Take the first step in protecting your freedom, your rights and your future.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.
We serve people charged with a federal crime in California and throughout the United States, including LA County, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0994.