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Sentencing for bank fraud

What is the sentence for bank fraud in 2024?

Bank fraud is the act of deceiving a financial institution to make a profit. The sentencing of bank fraud will depend on what occurred and what was the intended outcome. The penalty is likely to include imprisonment and possibly a fine.

bank fraud

The offence of bank fraud is becoming more common. Although there are many ways to perform bank fraud, it’s can also be tied to bank account fraud, cheque fraud, false accounting and cybercrime bank fraud, amongst others.

Other bank fraud cases involve abuse of position, forgery of documents, credit card fraud or rate fixing. With bank regulators and prosecuting agencies expected to justify their status as part of the financial landscape, they will often find scapegoats to pin the blame to such as traders working in banking and other financial institutions.

If you or somebody you know is being accused of bank fraud, it can be a very worrying time. It’s understandable to feel worried and stressed. You may have a family that you need to provide for or a mortgage that needs to be maintained. Will your family have the income to be able to maintain the lifestyle that they will have become accustomed to? Will your reputation be tarnished?

If you find yourself being part of an investigation into bank fraud, it’s critical that you take the advice of a competent and experienced bank fraud solicitor.

To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of bank fraud, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines below.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get any prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

Read more about the offence of Bank Fraud

Have you been charged with or arrested for bank fraud?  

Being charged or arrested in connection with a bank fraud case can be very frightening.  It’s essential that you engage the legal services of a fraud solicitor. You’ll no doubt be feeling very nervous, stressed and anxious and about what might happen next.

You’ll typically be invited to an interview at the police station. Under no circumstances must you attend this interview without having first spoken with a legal professional. The lawyer should also attend the meeting with you so that they can ask additional questions about what evidence the police have against you.

What type of actions are considered bank fraud?

Here are some examples of the type of bank fraud cases that may have led to the situation in hand.

Bank account fraud – for instance, somebody may gain access to a person’s account and transfer money to a bank account belonging to them or another person. The bank may not be supportive of what has happened, and the money is not returned to the bank account owner.

Currency rate fixing – for example, banks were charged with manipulating and fixing currency rates in 2015. They were charged with fines of over £1 billion and you may be accused of being involved in a currency rate fixing case either historically or taking place now.

Bank card fraud – an example of this might be when a person’s bank card is used to secure money that doesn’t belong to the user. The bank card is typically stolen and used to cash a cheque or to gain access to funds that do not belong to the user.

Online bank fraud  – this is typically unauthorised use of a bank account by a third party or when a scam dupes buyers.

These are just a few examples of bank fraud; there are several others. If you would like to know more about crimes that are categorised as bank fraud, you can always contact us for more information. Call us on 0208 888 5225.

What is the average sentence for bank fraud offences?

A bank fraud case that reaches court and secures a conviction is likely to get a prison sentence of at least four to five years. The sentence may even be ten years or more, depending on how serious the crime is.  In most cases, the time will be reduced with some of the sentence being spent back in the community but on license. During this time, the convicted would not be able to offend again, or they would return to court to be resentenced and may spend further time behind bars.

How does a court decide on the seriousness of the bank fraud offence for sentencing purposes?

The information that judges are given with regards to sentencing is only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse, the seriousness of the crime and the amount of harm caused.

The following factors are considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Your previous conviction
  • The number of victims involved
  • The amount of money involved
  • Whether there was forgery or identity fraud used to secure more funds

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the bank fraud sentence?

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. In bank fraud cases, they may include:

  • Whether the defendant is disabled or mentally ill
  • The age of the defendant, i.e. if they are particularly young, their age may affect their level of responsibility
  • If there are previous, relevant or recent convictions
  • Suspect shows a considerable degree of genuine remorse
  • If you are considered to have previous good character with exemplary conduct
  • If there is a learning disability or mental disorder linked to this offence
  • There have been demonstrative steps made to address this behaviour

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for bank fraud with a guilty plea?

In recent years, several changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one tenth on the first day of the trial and to zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten percent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of a bank fraud offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of a bank fraud offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of bank fraud include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Financial reporting order
  • Disqualification from directing a company
  • Confiscation orders
  • Victims’ surcharge

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining enough evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of bank fraud, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

Have you been arrested or charged with bank fraud?

If you’ve been contacted by the police and arrested, charged or even just invited to the police station for a chat, it’s vital that you seek legal guidance immediately. Communicating in any way with the police without legal support can put you at significant risk of being given a term in prison.

The primary goal of the police is to secure convictions. They do this by trying a range of different approaches and techniques in a bid to get you to incriminate yourself. They will not disclose all the evidence that they have against you and are going to use as part of their prosecution.

Some evidence is likely to be withheld from your knowledge or vision, but by having an experienced bank fraud legal expert by your side, you can give yourself some protection against the police and their tactics.

Another benefit of engaging competent and experienced bank fraud lawyers is that they can provide you with guidance on what to say and what not to say. The police will ask you many questions and this can be gruelling and exhausting. With a legal professional by your side, you can answer confidently, knowing that you’re not getting yourself into deeper and hotter water.

Your solicitor can immediately begin to create a robust defence strategy in order to secure you the best possible outcome should your case reach court. Alternatively, your solicitor may even be able to get your case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.

If there are other people involved who have been accused and are involved in your case, it’s vital that you know what’s being said by whom. Gaining access to this information isn’t always possible, but there is a good chance that your lawyer will be able to make contact with the other legal help involved in this case to minimise damage.

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

The fraud lawyers at Stuart Miller have defended those accused of the bank fraud at all levels.  No matter what role you played in a bank fraud case, Stuart Miller Solicitors have substantial expertise in understanding your case, your circumstances and the way in which the prosecution will seek to prosecute you.

Owing to daily handling of bank fraud cases, our fraud solicitors have the very best Barristers and QCs to choose from. We can instruct international agents to make enquiries abroad; we can engage financial experts to analyse the trail of funds, we can work with telephony experts and computer evidence evaluation experts to build your defence case.

Our reputation is already very positive but we at Stuart Miller Solicitors also rely on past Notable Cases to speak of our remarkable abilities in this field.

When should you discuss your case with an expert bank fraud solicitor?

In any legal case, early action is pivotal to increasing the chances of success. In cases of this nature, you will require specialist advice at every step. If you have been served with a Restraint Order, you have had cash seized or your money confiscated; rest assured our fraud lawyers will advise you on all aspects of the fraud investigation or prosecution.

Whether you are facing allegations of Fraud by False Representation, Fraud by Failing to Disclose Information, Making or Supplying Articles for use in Fraud or on the larger end of the spectrum, for Conspiracy to Defraud or Money Laundering; please Contact Us and ask to speak to our fraud solicitors.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.  In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our bank fraud lawyers and fraud offences solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for bank fraud legal help.


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