Fraud in a bank account: federal or state crime?

Once again I must comment on Maureen and her larcenous granddaughter Nancy. According to the entries in the statment given Maureen by her bank, Nancy somehow rifled the account for funds to support “minutes” on a cell phone account. This came to $1700, which would be petty larceny under California law. However, the involvement of a bank suggests that it is rather a *federal * crime and Nancy can look forward to a stretch in the federal pen…am I correct?

If telephone or Internet were involved, it could constitute Wire Fraud. If the U.S. mails were involved, it could constitute Mail Fraud. If done in person, probably only a state crime.

Link for Mail Fraud.

The Bank Fraud section of the U.S. Code does make defrauding a financial institution a federal crime, even in person.

Thanks, Walloon! I just printed that sutatue out. Maybe when i show that to Nancy she’ll turn a whiter shade of Pale! :eek:

Is naughty Nancy a real person?

That’s two different questions. If somebody commits a minor crime that is both a state crime and a federal crime, it’s very common for the feds to not get involved.

She is very real. As with Dragnet, the names are changed. Nancy is Maureen’s granddaughter by Adelaide.
Another name has entered into the picture. “Bert,” Adelaide’s third child born out of wedlock, is involved–well, actually his real father is. The Senior Bert was apprised of the bank situation and smelled a rat. To make a long story extremely short he concedes the rifling of Maureen’s account but questions the certaintiy of Nancy as the culprit.
Maureen had asked me to contact the two cell-phone companies that had been illegally paid with funds from her account. I called one and they gave the grandmother a number to call; the other said the bank will contact them themselves. This leaves Nancy out of the picture–maybe.
Walloon, after I followed your link I read the penalty for such rifling–a fine of as much as a million dollars and 30 years’ imprisonment; this seems more likely the undertaking of a big-time crook than Maureen’s troubled granddaughter.

Remember that roughly 90% of criminal cases are settled before trial. The prosecutor or U.S. attorney will negotiate a plea bargain.

It certainly COULD be a federal matter.
Incidentally, you may be riding the bus that gives you a tour of the land of ‘law enforcement barely cares about low-dollar fraud’.
I’ve been peripherally involved in the investigation of a number of similar incidents, and $1700 does not warrant a serious investigation in the eyes of many agencies.
If the evidence isn’t iron-clad, the cops aren’t going to spend two weeks researching every end of the case to get what’s needed to make this happen.
I can make no guarantees, but don’t be surprised if the law enforcement response here is underwhelming. The cops are not funded to properly investigate all reported crimes and must occasionally practice triage.

How is the granddaughter transacting business on the account? Is she an authorized signer? Why isn’t the bank stepping up to cover “unauthorized” transactions? Something is fishy here.

Ps. There is no larceny in California, only theft (section 484a of the CA Penal Code). And amounts over $400 are defined as grand theft, a felony (section 484g of the CA Penal Code)

Has anyone called the cops yet?
I know of a few bank security officers that will NEVER go to law enforcement if that would amount to getting between two family members.

  • Sometimes granny can’t bear to testify against family.
  • The cops get annoyed with the bank for handing them an unworkable complaint.
  • The family gets annoyed with the bank.
  • The bank’s name gets in the paper in conjunction with a crime.

I’m not saying they WON’T, but I would be completely unsurprised if I reported something similar to my bank and they sat on their hands about the matter until I produced a report I’d filed with the Akron Police.

I mentioned above that one of the cell-phone companies already told me–and they have no idea who I am–that if the bank is conducting an investigation, they will certainly be in touch with both the aggrieved cell-phone company and the local police (as well as the account holder).
I have also pointed out that I am less certain than I was at first, that “Nancy” is the culprit in this matter (and so is the grandmother, who has already sent Nancy to jail twice). That said, I figure Nancy is still heading for a stretch at Tehachapi, if not McNeil Island.