Credit Card Fraud
In the past, Americans carried cash to pay for everyday purchases. However, these days, many Americans use credit cards, gift cards, and debit cards for all their purchases. They may also use other access devices. Credit cards and access devices are sometimes used to defraud companies. If you have been charged with this type of fraud or a related theft offense, an experienced Fort Lauderdale credit card fraud attorney can evaluate your situation.Credit Card Fraud
Fraudulent purchases made online with credit or debit cards are often found to implicate interstate or foreign commerce and therefore violate the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The alleged crimes will usually fall under federal prosecutors’ jurisdiction. Access devices are defined under 18 U.S. Code section 1029 as any code, card, account number, plate, electronic serial number, personal identification number, mobile identification number, or other telecommunications equipment, service, instrument identifier, or other means of account access that can be utilized, either alone or in connection with a different access device to get services, goods, money, or other things of value. They can also be used to initiate a transfer of funds.
You can be convicted under state law if a prosecutor proves the elements of fraudulent use of credit cards under Florida Statutes section 817.61. You can be charged if you: (1) use a credit card intending to defraud a merchant, (2) the credit card was illegally obtained and known to be forged or presented under a pretense that the true credit card holder authorized the use, and (3) you got money, services, goods or something else that was valuable from the merchant. If you use a credit card repeatedly in this fraudulent way during a six month period, all of these will be treated as one crime under Florida law. The penalties you’ll face will depend on the value of the goods in that period of time, and how many times you used the credit card in the six-month period. You can be charged with a felony for using a credit card fraudulently two times within six months. A knowledgeable while collar crime lawyer can help you defend yourself against both felony and misdemeanor charges in this area.Types of Credit Card Fraud Under Federal Law
Ten crimes and penalties arising out of credit card fraud are established under 18 U.S. Code section 1029. Certain crimes carry slightly lighter penalties than do others. If a prosecutor can show that you: (1) knowingly and intending to defraud, (2) traffic in or use one or more unauthorized access devices during a one-year period and through those actions get anything of value worth $1,000 or more during that period, you can face 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. This penalty also applies if a prosecutor can show that you: (1) knowingly and intending to defraud, (2) possessed 15 or more devices that were counterfeit or unauthorized access devices. This penalty applies with regard to several different credit card fraud offenses.
Harsh penalties are imposed for other types of credit card fraud. You can face a maximum of 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if a prosecutor can establish that you: (1) knowingly, (2) made, used, trafficked in, had custody or control of, or possessed software or hardware, (3) knowing it was configured to change telecommunication identifying information related to a telecommunications instrument so that the instrument could be used to get telecommunications services without authorization, (4) in order that the instrument be used to procure unauthorized telecommunications services.
Similarly, you can face these penalties if a prosecutor can show that you: (1) knowingly and intending to defraud, (2) produced, used, trafficked in, or had custody of or control of, (3) a scanning receiver. You could also be subject to these penalties if a prosecutor can show that you: (1) knowingly and intending to defraud, (2) effected a transaction, (3) with at least one access device issued to someone else, (4) to get payment or something of value, (5) during a one-year period, (6) where the aggregate value is equal to or more than $1,000.
If you’ve previously been convicted of one of the foregoing offenses, and then face a subsequent conviction, the court can sentence you to up to 20 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.Consult a Skillful Credit Card Fraud Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
If you are charged with credit card fraud in Fort Lauderdale or somewhere else in Broward County, a dedicated defense lawyer at The Hoffman Firm may be able to help you. Contact us at (954) 524-4474 or via our online form. We also represent people accused of credit card fraud in areas like Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Sunrise, and Deerfield Beach.