Generally speaking, credit card fraud crimes can be placed into two categories: (1) card “present” or (2) card “not present”. In the former type of crime, the victim’s physical card was actually taken; the latter occurs without the need of the victim’s physical card. Usually the credit card number or other identifying information is obtained by some other means (i.e., online, over the phone, etc.).
In some states, the law requires that a defendant use the account number or card itself in order to face criminal charges. Conversely, other state laws give a prosecutor the authority to charge a person with intent to use without authorization. Said differently, the completed act of using the card is not required, just the intent. Additionally, because of their similarity almost all states apply the same criminal statutes to debit and credit cards.
Proving the Crime
Federal credit card fraud law is written in general terms. Legislators did this in order to cast a wide net over the numerous ways this crime can be committed. Nevertheless, penalties are provided in proportion to the monetary value of the items, or the cash, obtained by the accused during the commission of the act. In order for a prosecutor to secure a conviction, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Took a credit card, or credit card account number, from another;
- Took the above with the intent to use, sell or transfer it to a third party;
- Used the card information to buy something of value; and
- Had the intent to defraud.
A defendant’s previous criminal history, if any, will affect the penalty if found guilty of credit card fraud. For example, first time offenders who do not have any previous criminal charges may face fines and probation. A repeat offender, on the other hand, will likely face fines and incarceration.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been charged with credit card fraud, or any other white-collar crime, contact an experienced and aggressive Chicago credit card fraud criminal defense attorney today. The government has an entire legal team that will work tirelessly to prosecute your case; you should have a skilled and aggressive attorney who will fight to defend your case. With decades of experience in defending criminal cases from the trial through the appellate level, Steven Goldman will work hard to put the best defense forward. Call (773) 484-3131 or (847) 215-2600 today to learn about your rights.