If you are like many Americans, you receive several credit card applications every single week. Whether you are looking to enhance your spending potential or simply to raise your credit score, you may quickly complete some of these applications and return them to the credit card company.
You may want to think twice before flippantly inputting information on credit card forms, though. After all, if you provide false or misleading information, you may be vulnerable to prosecution for bank fraud.
What is bank fraud?
Bank fraud is any deceptive actions you take to steal from a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union. The following behaviors typically fall under the umbrella of bank fraud:
- Obtaining fraudulent lines of credit or loans
- Stealing credit cards or checks
- Forging bank applications
How do banks uncover fraud?
It is possible a large credit card issuer may not discover you have overstated your income or otherwise provided false information. On the other hand, banks regularly audit customer-provided information for signs of fraud. If your bank finds suspected fraud, someone there may refer the matter to prosecutors.
What is your exposure?
Bank fraud is a federal criminal offense. Therefore, you may have to deal with sophisticated prosecutors who have access to seemingly limitless financial resources.
Your criminal exposure probably depends on both the nature of the fraud and the amount of money you potentially misappropriate. According to federal law, you may face imprisonment, fines or both.
White-collar prosecutions are always scary, but they typically become scarier in the federal system. Ultimately, if you believe you may face charges for bank fraud, it is critical to understand your legal options as soon as possible.