Credit Card Fraud
While many Americans used to carry cash to pay for everyday purchases, more and more people are relying on credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, or other “access devices” to make payments. An access device is defined in 18 U.S. Code § 1029 as “any card, plate, code, account number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier, or other means of account access that can be used, alone or in conjunction with another access device, to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds (other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument).”
The increase in the number of individuals using access devices has also led to more establishments and merchants accepting the various cards as forms of payment, but technology has also invariably led to an increase in fraudulent use of such access devices. Fraudulent purchases that are made online with debit or credit cards are frequently deemed to involve interstate or foreign commerce and thus violate the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, making the alleged offenses fall within the jurisdiction of federal prosecutors.Credit Card Fraud Lawyer in Broward County, Florida
If you believe that you may be under investigation or you were arrested for a federal credit or debit card crime in South Florida, you should immediately retain legal counsel who can fight to help you achieve the best possible outcome to your case. The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients accused of federal white collar crimes in Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Deerfield Beach, and surrounding communities in Broward County.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman is a former Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office who is admitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Call (954) 524-4474 right now to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Credit Card Fraud in Fort Lauderdale
- What are the consequences of being convicted of a federal credit card crime?
- Are there other crimes that prosecutors will charge alleged offenders with?
- Where can I find more information about federal credit and debit card fraud offenses?
Federal Penalties for Credit Card Fraud
Under 18 U.S. Code § 1029, several offenses and penalties are established relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices. The statute established 10 different crimes relating to credit or debit card fraud, with one group of offenses carrying more serious penalties than the other.
The following violations can result in a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $250,000:
- An alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud traffics in or uses one or more unauthorized access devices during any one-year period, and by such conduct obtains anything of value aggregating $1,000 or more during that period;
- An alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud possesses fifteen or more devices which are counterfeit or unauthorized access devices;
- An alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud produces, uses, or traffics in one or more counterfeit access devices;
- An alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud uses, produces, traffics in, has control or custody of, or possesses a telecommunications instrument that has been modified or altered to obtain unauthorized use of telecommunications services;
- Without the authorization of the credit card system member or its agent, an alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud causes or arranges for another person to present to the member or its agent, for payment, one or more evidences or records of transactions made by an access device; or
- Without the authorization of the issuer of the access device, an alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud solicits a person for the purpose of offering an access device or selling information regarding or an application to obtain an access device.
The following violations can result in a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000:
- An alleged offender knowingly uses, produces, traffics in, has control or custody of, or possesses hardware or software, knowing it has been configured to insert or modify telecommunication identifying information associated with or contained in a telecommunications instrument so that such instrument may be used to obtain telecommunications service without authorization;
- An alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud uses, produces, traffics in, has control or custody of, or possesses a scanning receiver;
- An alleged offender knowingly and with intent to defraud effects transactions, with one or more access devices issued to another person or persons, to receive payment or any other thing of value during any one-year period the aggregate value of which is equal to or greater than $1,000; or
- An alleged offender knowingly, and with intent to defraud, produces, traffics in, has control or custody of, or possesses device-making equipment.
If an alleged offender has been previously convicted of any of these offenses, a subsequent conviction is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Additionally, an attempt to commit any of the offenses listed above is subject to the same punishments as actually committing the crime, and an alleged offender who is party to a conspiracy of two or more persons to commit any of the offenses listed above is subject to the same maximum fines but one-half of the maximum periods of imprisonment.
Other Federal Offenses Related to Credit Card Fraud
Federal prosecutors will often file other criminal charges in addition to charges of alleged access device fraud. When a person is accused of fraudulently using a credit or debit card, he or she could also face one or more of the following charges:
- Wire fraud;
- Mail fraud;
- Bank fraud;
- Identity theft;
- Telemarketing fraud;
- Making false statements;
- Email fraud; and
- Computer fraud.
Florida Credit Card Fraud Resources
Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud | Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) provide protection for consumer in the even that their credit, ATM, or debit cards are lost or stolen. This section of the FTC website provides tips to help people prevent themselves from being victims of credit card fraud. Learn about the many ways that credit card fraud happens and some of the fraud protection practices you can keep in mind to avoid becoming a victim.
18 U.S. Code § 1029 — Visit this website to read the full text of the federal statute for fraud and related activity in connection with access devices. In addition to outlining criminal offenses, the statute also provides definitions of key terms. When an alleged offender is convicted of a crime established under this statute, forfeiture to the United States of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the offense is also established under this statute.
Were you arrested or do you think that you could be under investigation in South Florida for an alleged credit card fraud offense? You will want to seek qualified legal representation for help fighting to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Evan A. Hoffman of The Hoffman Firm is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who represents clients facing federal charges all over Broward County, including Margate, Miramar, Pompano Beach, Davie, Pembroke Pines, and many other nearby areas. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (954) 524-4474 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.