If you’re suspected of bank fraud or you know you’re under investigation for bank fraud, you need to hire excellent representation right away to consider all the possible defenses for your case.
Bank fraud is a term used to encompass a wide variety of white-collar crimes involving money and financials of various kinds. It can include charges such as forgery, credit card fraud, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) fraud. These bank fraud crimes include crimes committed by and against banks and other financial institutions. There has been a sharp rise in fraud cases related to PPP loan fraud and EIDL loan fraud cases as individuals and companies sought to receive funds from the government to mitigate losses incurred because of COVID-19.
Whether you are under investigation for a type of bank fraud or have been charged with some type of financial fraud, it is imperative that you retain expert and experienced legal counsel to represent you and defend your case. Federal criminal charges relating to bank fraud are complex and, if convicted, punishments can be severe, with fines up to $1,000,000 and/or prison sentences of up to thirty years. At Lowther Walker, LLC, federal criminal defense lawyers Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq. and Murdoch Walker, II, Esq. have built their decades of experience advocating for clients facing every type of bank fraud charge. They are the knowledgeable and experienced bank fraud lawyers that you need on your side during these challenging times.
In the United States, bank fraud charges are brought most often through the statute in Title 18 of the U.S. Code 18 U.S.C. § 1344, which defines and makes illegal the terms of bank fraud. This statute makes clear that anyone who knowingly attempts to devise and execute a plan to obtain money, property, or assets from a financial institution by fraudulent means will be charged with a crime and face imprisonment and fines.
It should be noted that financial institutions included in this statute are those that are chartered or insured by the federal government, including most major banks and bank-like entities. At Lowther Walker, LLC, Mr. Lowther and Mr. Walker have decades of experience handling the cases of individuals and corporations accused of federal crimes like bank fraud, making our law firm the premier choice for bank fraud defense lawyers nationwide.
Signed into law in early 2020, the CARES Act intended to provide benefits to those experiencing loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the EIDL program, the PPP was created to offer loan assistance to sole proprietors and other businesses seeking financial relief. This program set aside nearly $350 billion in federal funds to be used for small and medium-sized businesses.
PPP funds were depleted almost immediately, and several allegations of fraud have surfaced as a result. While not all allegations of fraud lead to criminal charges, there are some cases of inadvertent misrepresentation or omission that can still result in the misappropriation of federal funds and bank fraud charges.
The PPP loan program has led to numerous allegations of fraud stemming from misrepresentation of eligibility, either unintentional or intentional. Regardless of whether or not you think you committed bank fraud, if you’ve been charged or accused, you need to hire knowledgeable and seasoned bank fraud lawyers like Mr. Lowther and Mr. Walker. They will represent your interests during every step of the bank fraud investigation or trial.
Some of the common forms of bank fraud associated with the PPP are as follows:
Loan stacking is a term used to describe receiving funds by the same applicant but from multiple lenders. Individuals or businesses that received funds from multiple lenders are early and obvious targets for charges, as the federal government can track the distribution of all PPP funds.
Applicants for PPP funds were required to sign off (certify) that certain facts about their businesses were accurate in order to receive funds. Some of these statements that had to be certified include, but are not limited to, the following: “economic uncertainty makes the loan necessary to support ongoing operations,” “funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll, or to make mortgage, lease, and utility payments,” “you have not and will not receive another loan under the PPP,” and “all the information you provided and all supporting documents are true and accurate.” Certifying these statements as true when they are, in fact, untrue can lead to charges of bank fraud.
Companies that were recipients of PPP federal funds were in agreement that those funds could only be used for certain purposes. Any use of funds outside of these purposes is impermissible and could lead to the potential charge of fraud. Businesses were allowed to use funds according to four purposes:
If businesses misrepresented any information in order to meet the eligibility criteria for PPP loans, they could face prosecution. That means that misinformation regarding the number of employees, classification of employees, representation of SBA standards, or representation of payroll costs could put businesses at risk of prosecution if they fall into any categories of misrepresenting information.
In addition to PPP fraud, bank fraud lawyers can also help you defend yourself or your business against a federal investigation or charge into EIDL fraud. Similar to the PPP, the EIDL program is a loan from the federal government to small businesses during times of disaster. Typically, conditions that necessitate an EIDL loan would be natural disasters, but many businesses were granted these recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The goal of an EIDL loan is similar to the goal of the PPP loan: to keep businesses afloat in a time when, outside of their control and without assistance, they otherwise would be unable to. Because the number of funds applied for and dispersed has reached a new high, the federal government is getting more serious about EIDL loan fraud, which means you might need to secure a criminal defense lawyer well-versed in bank fraud from Lowther Walker, LLC.
Bank fraud cases often involve serious, complex charges and are highly detail-specific. If you’re suspected of bank fraud or you know you’re under investigation for bank fraud, you need to hire excellent representation right away to consider all the possible defenses for your case.
At Lowther Walker, LLC, Mr. Lowther and Mr. Walker understand the complexities and intricacies of federal criminal cases. They know that to prove bank fraud, the federal government must prove that you knowingly made a false claim in order to benefit financially, and that because of your claim, a financial institution suffered a loss.
Mr. Lowther and Mr. Walker will thoroughly examine your case in order to facilitate the best possible defense strategies. They will aggressively defend your interests and rights at every step of administrative court, litigation, negotiation, and trial. Mr. Lowther and Mr. Walker have proven time and time again that their expertise in federal criminal defense makes them invaluable assets to your legal team, whether you’re facing PPP loan fraud, EIDL fraud, or any other sort of bank fraud.
Mr. Lowther and Mr. Walker are experienced bank fraud lawyers, conveniently located near the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. They serve clients in Georgia and nationwide in all matters of bank fraud and other white-collar criminal charges.