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Your Legal Corner - Client Alert Blog

Banking Laws Leave Business Owners Open to Internet Fraud

Written By: Melissa C. Marsh, Esq., California Attorney, October 2010 Add to Favorites
Fraud statutes exist so those who have been defauded have legal recourse. If a hacker empties an individual's personal account, the bank usually must cover most, if not all, of the losses sustained. But the fraud protections implemented to protect the consumer have left businesses completely on their own. Unlike personal deposits which are regulated, commercial deposits have very little legal protection. Regulation E of the Federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act (the "Act") requires banks to reimburse consumer fraud victims within 10 days of a fraud report, but it does NOT protect business accounts the same way it protects individual accounts.

So, while your tax advisor, accountant, or CPA miught advise their self-employed clients to open a separate business bank account, avoid doing so if you can. The benefit of clearly separating your business and personal expenses for tax purposes is far outweighed by the risk of losing eveything your have earned, or saved, through wire fraud.

If you absolutely must maintain a business bank account (e.g. accounts maintained by corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships), keep as little money as you can in the businesses checking account, request the bank to remove overdraft protection, and transfer the bulk of the monies earned to a separate business savings account (preferably at a different bank). If maintaining this strategy it is important to maintain accurate books of account to ensure the checking account always has sufficient funds to cover the outstanding checks.

Tags: Internet Fraud
Posted In: Business Law Bulletin  Corporate Client Bulletin  Tax Update 

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site was prepared by Melissa C. Marsh for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided in my articles and alerts should not be relied upon, or used as a substitute for professional legal advice from an attorney you retain to advise or represent you. Your use of this Internet site does not create an attorney- client relationship. Transmission of this article is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. All uses of the contents of this site, other than personal uses, are prohibited. You may print or email a copy of any information posted on this web site for your own personal, non-commercial, use, but you may not publish any of the articles or posts on this web site without the Express Written Permission of Melissa C. Marsh.

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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.