Ever since the financial crisis began, federal investigators and prosecutors have been taking a hard line against people accused of financial fraud. The punishment for these types of crimes can involve lengthy prison sentences and huge fines. The recent prosecutions arising out of the failure of Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association illustrate this phenomenon.
The Pittsburgh-based bank failed in 2009 and alleged incidents of bank fraud are believed to have caused Dwelling House's demise. Previously, two Pittsburgh area people had previously been charged with fraud and money laundering in connection to fraudulent withdrawals from Dwelling House.
Last week, a 45-year-old woman from Glenwood has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. A federal indictment alleged she fraudulently took over $1 million from Dwelling House through 272 transactions in 2008. She is scheduled for sentencing on August 11. She faces up to 290 years in prison and a fine of as much as $9.5 million.
Prosecutors allege that another woman, a 42-year-old resident of Coraopolis, discovered a banking glitch that allowed them to use Paypal accounts to withdraw more money from Dwelling House accounts than was actually on deposit. In January, she was charged with bank fraud, money laundering and monetary transactions in criminally derived property.
This week, two more individuals were indicted in connection with Dwelling House withdrawals. The 24-year-old son of the Coraopolis woman is now facing 11 counts of bank fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors allege he fraudulently withdraw at least $1.04 million from Dwelling House. If convicted, he could face a fine in excess of $10 million and as much as 310 years in prison.
A fourth defendant, a 55-year-old woman from Uniontown, is facing four counts of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors allege she fraudulently withdrew more than $200,000 and she could face a fine of $3.5 million and 110 years in prison.
As these charges illustrate, federal felony charges are very serious charges and they require serious legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "2 more indicted in Dwelling House Savings fraud," Thomas Olson, 4/13/2011