Broward County Scam Now Nationwide Problem
What began as a local scam has now spread across the nation and has victimized individuals as far away as Washington, D.C. and Kansas City, Missouri. Perpetrators of the scam are known as “felony lane gangs.” They get this name because of the method they use to rob bank customers of their money. After illegally obtaining a person’s banking information, these criminals will use the “felony lane” – that is the drive-thru lane furthest from a bank’s teller window – and will either pose as that customer or enlist the help of others to pose as the customer. The thieves then make off with their ill-gotten loot.
How is Bank Fraud Prosecuted?
When felony lane gangs were present in Broward County and the surrounding communities, law enforcement took a tough stance against these individuals. It is believed that part of the reason these gangs spread to other areas of the country is due in part to successful law enforcement efforts in and around Broward County. You can expect that any bank fraud scheme in Broward County and other counties in South Florida will be investigated and prosecuted aggressively.
Bank fraud is a felony that can be prosecuted in either state court or federal court, depending on the specific facts of a case. If possible, law enforcement will likely try to have your case prosecuted in federal court because of the serious penalties that can be imposed following a conviction. For example, violation of the bank fraud statute can result in up to 30 years in federal prison and up to $1,000,000 in fines.
Bank fraud activity covered under the bank fraud statute includes schemes or artifices that accomplish or attempt to accomplish any of the following:
- A fraud against a financial institution; or
- Obtaining the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities or other property that is owned by or under the custody or control of a financial institution and doing so by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.
So the bank fraud statute clearly covers the activity of felony lane gangs as their activity seeks to obtain money or assets under the custody or control of a financial institution using false pretenses. It also covers activity such as check-kiting, credit card fraud, and unauthorized use of automated teller machines. (Note that other bank-related crimes such as bribery and passing bad checks are prosecuted under different statutes.)
Where to Turn for Help with Bank Fraud Charges
If you have been charged with a bank fraud offense or similar bank-related criminal act, you should take these charges seriously. You can face significant fines and prison time if you are convicted. But South Florida federal criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner can help. If you are facing federal criminal charges, he will evaluate the evidence in your case and work with you to craft a trial strategy designed to acquit you of the charges or (where this is not possible) minimize the negative consequences that may come with a conviction. If you are facing federal bank crime charges, contact the law office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. at (305) 670-9919 and schedule your free consultation today.