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Embezzlement: When certain actions can get bank employees in trouble

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | White-collar crimes

Banks are some of the most critical institutions in any country. They take deposits and lend money to clients, helping keep the cash flowing. But while many people trust banks with their money, some employees would abuse this trust to commit embezzlement.

Federal embezzlement charges can be both confusing and frightening, as they involve complex financial regulations and the potential for severe consequences. Which actions can get bank employees in trouble, and what can they expect if their charges lead to conviction?

Federal law on embezzlement by a bank employee

According to federal law, a banking employee or officer commits embezzlement if they misappropriate their bank’s funds, assets or securities. The definition is broad enough to cover a wide range of suspicious transactions.

Identifying embezzlement

The line between a legitimate transaction and an attempt to embezzle a bank can blur. The following actions can be misinterpreted as embezzlement:

  • Loan approvals that benefit a bank employee indirectly.
  • Transferring funds between accounts to manage cash flow without proper authorization.
  • Using bank funds for personal investments, even if the intent is to return the money.

If a bank employee performs any transaction without proper clearance or authority, it could lead to charges.

The penalties for embezzlement

Bank officers or employees found guilty of embezzlement can face as much as $1,000,000 in fines or up to 30 years in prison. The fines and prison time are significantly lower for those convicted of embezzling less than $1,000.

People hold bank employees and officers to a high standard of trust. Any suspicious action they do may lead to federal charges, and a conviction for embezzlement leads to severe penalties. If you’re facing charges, don’t underestimate the accusations. A legal professional may be able to review your case and discuss possible defense options.