It may be a mistake that you deeply regret later, but if you knowingly forge someone else’s name on a check without their permission and, as a result, defraud a bank, you can be indicted for federal check fraud.
The penalties for federal convictions are very harsh, and you can be sent to prison for years and/or have to pay substantial fines. If you are charged, you will need a strong and aggressive defense.
What You Need To Know About Federal Check Fraud
It is illegal to intentionally pass a check knowing it is counterfeit or – in any way – intentionally use a check to obtain property or services that you do not intend to actually pay for. This includes forging a check, altering it by changing the dollar amount or signing somebody else’s name without their permission.
In federal check fraud, a prosecutor will need to prove that you had the intention to use a forged or counterfeit check to defraud. If you took a counterfeit check to a bank and tried to deposit it, that action can be used in court as proof that you had the intent to misrepresent it and defraud the bank.
One form of check fraud frequently linked to other criminal offenses, such as money laundering, is check kiting. Check kiting involves writing a check on an account in one bank while knowing you don’t have the money to cover it, and then depositing it in a separate account in another bank.
If you are convicted of federal check fraud, you face years in prison and a substantial fine as well as forfeiture of property.
State Versus Federal
The federal court system is complex, and its procedures are significantly different from those in the Pennsylvania court system. One of the biggest contrasts is that the federal court system uses unique, complicated sentencing guidelines to decide how someone convicted of a federal crime will be punished.
Another difference is that federal prosecutors can draw on extensive resources, including the results of lengthy investigations conducted by federal agents. Philadelphia area prosecutors do not have those kinds of resources available to them.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, you are probably facing more severe consequences than if you had been charged by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
How A Lawyer Will Help
When you are up against a fraud charge, you will be facing inflexible laws and a determined US prosecutor. You will need an attorney who can help you determine all of your options and achieve the best outcome for your circumstances.
United States Code
Read more about federal criminal offenses in the United States Code.
Questions? Contact us today.
If you are charged with a federal crime, the consequences can be devastating. Fienman Defense will fight tenaciously to protect your constitutional rights. We will guide you through a court system that can be complex and intimidating, and provide you with the strongest possible defense.