What Are Possible Defenses to Federal Check Fraud Charges?
The hit movie Catch Me if You Can is based on the incredible true story of Frank Abagnale. In addition to a number of other cons, Abagnale was one of the most notorious check forgers of the 1960s. He created fraudulent payroll checks, printed his own account number on blank deposit slips at the bank, and used other schemes to defraud financial institutions. Abagnale was eventually caught and sentenced to prison. Although it may look glamorous in movies, white collar crimes such as check fraud can result in severe criminal consequences. Check fraud is commonly prosecuted by the federal government and may be punishable by prison sentences up to 30 years as well as extremely steep fines.
What Actions May Be Considered Check Fraud?
Many people have accidentally overestimated their bank account balance and written a check that “bounced” at least once in their lifetime. Mistakes such as these typically only result in a small bank fee. However, when a person intentionally writes bad checks for the purpose of defrauding a bank, he or she may be guilty of check fraud. There are other actions that constitute check fraud, including:
Forging a signed endorsement on a check
Signing another person’s name to a check
Creating a fake check
Changing the writing on a check to gain financial benefit
Erasing the information on a check through “check washing”
Both Texas law and U.S. federal law prohibit check fraud. Although the offense is sometimes classified as a misdemeanor, most check fraud offenses that involve large amounts of money are considered felony offenses.
Potential Defenses to Check Fraud Allegations
Being convicted of check fraud can cost you your freedom. If you are facing criminal charges for bank fraud or check fraud, you should know about the defenses that may help you avoid a conviction. Some of the most common defenses in check fraud cases include:
No Intent to Defraud: The criminal offense of committing check fraud is an intentional activity. If the prosecution cannot prove that you intended to defraud an individual or financial institution, it will be difficult to obtain a conviction.
Mistaken Identity: In some cases, the person who is actually the victim of a crime is charged with the commission of the crime. For example, if you attempted to cash a fake check at the bank, you could be charged with check fraud. However, if you are not the person who created the counterfeit check and did not know that the check was fraudulent, you are not the guilty party.
Coercion or Duress: If you only committed check fraud because you were threatened or forced, you may avoid a conviction. Proving coercion or duress can be very challenging and will require assistance from a highly skilled criminal defense attorney.
Contact a Plano, Texas Fraud Defense Lawyer
Check fraud cases are often prosecuted by the federal government and can result in life-changing consequences, including decades of imprisonment. If you or someone you know has been charged with check fraud, you need an attorney who has a proven record of success. Collin County criminal defense attorney Darlina Crowder has secured over 200 not guilty verdicts and acquittals for her clients. Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. at 214-303-9600 today and schedule a free, confidential consultation.