Every year in the United States, the robbery of banking institutions accounts for millions of dollars of losses. Bank robbery is a federal crime governed by 18 USC § 2113 of the United States Code, and generally involves the breaking and entering of a banking institution. For the purposes of this crime, a bank shall include any member bank of the Federal Reserve System, and any bank, banking association, trust company, savings bank, or other banking institution organized or operating under the laws of the United States, including a branch or agency of a foreign bank, and any institution the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, robbery is "the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.” By contrast, burglary is defined as, "unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft." Bank robbery is therefore defined as entering a bank when it is open and obtaining money either by using force or the threat of force. Breaking into a bank when it is closed is burglary.
The law provides that any individual who, by force, violence, or intimidation, takes or attempts to take from a person, or obtains or attempts to obtain by extortion any property or money or any other thing of value belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of, any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association shall be held in violation of by 18 USC § 2113. Also, any individual who enters or attempts to enter any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association, with intent to commit any felony affecting such bank, credit union, or such savings and loan association and in violation of any statute of the United States, or any larceny shall also be held in violation of by 18 USC § 2113. To establish a bank robbery, the prosecution must prove that a person took or tried to take money or property from a federally insured institution. This included credit unions and savings and loan associations (see United States v. Locklear). Even robbery of ATMs qualifies as a bank robbery (see United States v. McCarter).
Anyone found guilty of this law shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.Value of the Stolen Goods
Any individual who takes and carries away, with intent to steal or purloin, any property or money or any other thing of value exceeding $1,000 belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association, shall be subject to the following penalties:
- A fine, or
- Imprisonment for no more than 10 years, or
- Both such fine and imprisonment.
Any individual who takes and carries away, with intent to steal or purloin, any property or money or any other thing of value less than $1,000 belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association, shall be shall be subject to the following penalties:
- A fine, or
- Imprisonment for no more than 1 year, or
- Both such fine and imprisonment.
If, during the commission or attempt to commit the above crimes, the offender assaults an individual or puts in jeopardy the life of an individual by the use of a dangerous weapon or device, the offender shall be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment for no more than 25 years.Death or Kidnapping During the Commission of the Robbery
Any person who, during the commission of a bank robbery, kills or kidnaps another person with their consent shall be imprisoned not less than ten years, or if death results, the offender shall be punished by death or life imprisonment.
If you have been charged with the federal crime of bank robbery, you may have many possible defenses available to you such as mistaken identity or alibi. Even if there is mounting evidence against you because of video surveillance, dye packs, marked bills or other factors, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. to defend your rights and advocate for your freedom. There are many sentencing factors which can dramatically alter a person’s sentence in bank robbery cases, therefore you should never proceed without the educated advice from a qualified attorney. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has defended countless defendants facing a wide array of charges, and Attorney Murphy is not afraid to take your case all the way to the highest court. To ensure your rights are protected and to discuss the details of your case, call (617) 367-0450 for a free consultation or submit the contact form directly to Attorney Murphy through our website.