To convict someone under the federal bank fraud statute, does the government need to prove that a defendant intended to defraud a bank directly and expose the bank to risk of loss?
A federal district convicted Kevin Loughrin of bank fraud for using stolen, altered checks to purchase goods from a local Target store and returning them for cash. On appeal, Loughrin claimed he did not violate the bank fraud statute because the statute only criminalizes conduct intended to defraud a financial institution and that poses a risk of harm to that institution. Although he used fraudulent checks, Loughrin claims the target of his scheme was, in fact, Target, and not a bank. The United States argues that a scheme need not target a financial institution, nor expose that institution to risk, to constitute bank fraud. The Supreme Court’s ruling in this case will affect how broadly Congress can criminalize fraudulent financial actions and how expansively federal criminal jurisdiction can stretch.
Kevin Loughrin and his codefendant, Theresa Thongsarn, devised a scheme to make money that led to federal criminal charges. See United States v. Loughrin, 710 F.3d 1111, 1114 (10th Cir. 2013). The two defendants stole checks from people’s mail.
- Lawrence Hurley, Reuters, U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to weigh bank fraud case, (Dec. 13, 2013.
- David Deitch, Crime In The Suites, Supreme Court Grants Cert to Resolve Circuit Conflict on Intent Required to Prove Federal Bank Fraud, (Dec. 17, 2013)