Credit Card Offenses

Credit card theft is a major concern for the general public and these crimes are aggressively prosecuted. In today’s society credit cards are commonly used and are easily susceptible to theft. Consumer concerns have lead the legislature to create a statute that attempts to account for all possible ways a credit card can be misused. This statute can be confusing and often overlaps with the identity theft and general theft statutes leading to multiple charges for a single theft.  Investigations into credit card misuse also can be highly technical and involve subpoenaing evidence such as records and surveillance videos. The attorneys at STSW have extensive experience defending these types of cases.   
The most obvious credit card crime is the physical taking of a credit card of another without permission. To be found guilty of credit card theft, the person does not have to be the one who physically steals the card, they just have to have possession of the card and knowledge that the card was stolen and intend to either use it or sell it to someone else. A person also may not take possession a credit card that they know was lost or incorrectly delivered and either use it, sell it or transfer it to someone that is not the owner. A person may not buy or sell a credit card that does not belong to them. If a person commits any of the above acts they could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face up to 18 months in jail.
The counterfeiting of credit cards is growing problem and therefore has a harsher penalty. It is illegal to create a fake credit card or alter an existing credit card with the intent to defraud the owner of the credit card. It is also illegal to sign another person’s credit card with intent to defraud the owner of the card. Being in possession of a device or instrument designed to reproduce a credit card also falls under this section of the statute. A person who creates or has the equipment to create a fake credit card could be found guilty of a felony and could face up to 15 years in jail.
It is also a crime to give items to someone using a known stolen or counterfeit credit card and it is a crime to receive items by using a known stolen or counterfeit credit card. The penalties, similar to the theft statute, depend on the value of the goods or services received. If the value is over $500 the maximum penalty is up to 15 years in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the value is under $500 the maximum penalty is up to 18 months in jail and a $500 fine. If the value is under $100 the maximum penalty is up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.