Bank fraud is the use of potentially illegal means to obtain money, assets, or other property owned or held by a financial institution, or to obtain money from depositors by fraudulently posing as a bank or other financial institution. In many instances, bank fraud is a criminal offence. While the specific elements of particular banking fraud laws vary depending on jurisdictions, the term bank fraud applies to actions that employ a scheme or artifice, as opposed to bank robbery or theft. For this reason, bank fraud is sometimes considered a white-collar crime.
In 1998, the head of the World Bank established a special internal fraud team and hired a team of external investigators to examine allegations of corruption and embezzlement against bank officials in Washington. Among the projects under scrutiny were World Bank-funded schemes in Russia, Japan and Indonesia, countries at the centre of the international financial crisis.