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Credit Card Fraud

Riverside and San Bernardino Lawyer Helping People Facing White Collar Charges Credit card fraud is vigorously prosecuted by state and federal authorities. This form of theft includes activities such as the

misuse of credit card information or the theft of a physical card. In some situations, individuals may rely on credit card fraud to commit identity theft, as well as to secure items without paying or to withdraw money from banks. If you are facing these serious criminal charges, they may result in a felony conviction, imprisonment, and other consequences, such as court fines and restitution. San Bernardino and Riverside credit card fraud lawyer Gregory H. Comings can build a strong legal defense for people accused of this offense. He appreciates the anxiety felt by people facing charges, and he will communicate in an honest manner so that you understand your options.

Types of Credit Card Fraud

Certain types of credit card fraud may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, the crime of possessing a stolen card may result in a misdemeanor conviction that carries up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. A felony conviction can result in up to three years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Penal Code Section 484(e) makes clear that selling, transferring, or conveying access to a card without the card holder's consent may lead to grand theft charges. Grand theft may be a felony or a misdemeanor. However, since credit card fraud typically involves more than one alleged crime, the defendant can face multiple charges and prison time that potentially extends to decades.

Forging or creating a counterfeit credit card or access card, or using one with the intent to defraud, is a crime. This is set forth in California Penal Code Section 484(f). Since this crime is charged as forgery, it can be charged as a felony that carries the potential penalty of three years in state prison. Felony charges are especially serious and demand urgent attention by a credit card fraud attorney in Riverside or San Bernardino.

According to Section 484(g) of the California Penal Code, the fraudulent use of a credit card includes using a stolen, fake, forged, expired, or revoked credit card to acquire goods or cash, knowing that the card is not valid. Depending on the value of the fraudulently obtained services or items, the charge may rise to grand theft under Penal Code Section 487. This carries a potential penalty of three years in prison.

Penal Code Section 484(i) makes it a crime to possess an incomplete credit card with the intent to complete it without the owner’s consent. Additionally, it is a crime to alter or modify part of the card by changing the face of the card or information in the magnetic strip with the intent to defraud.

A conviction for counterfeiting credit cards may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. This crime involves possessing incomplete credit cards with the intent to complete them, as well as altering or modifying magnetic strips on credit cards. If the credit card information is incomplete at the time that possession is discovered, a misdemeanor offense will usually occur. When credit cards are altered, or the criminal charge includes possessing credit card information, the court may consider felony charges.

In addition to state law, federal law makes it a crime to commit credit card fraud. A conviction may lead to up to $10,000 in fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Defenses to Credit Card Fraud Charges

Being formally charged with credit card fraud does not mean that a defendant will be convicted of the crime. The circumstances of the case will dictate the appropriate legal defenses to set forth. As with many crimes, the element of intent is central to credit card fraud. If fraudulent intent is lacking, a defendant cannot be convicted. Evidence must be procured that makes clear the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the alleged crime. A Riverside or San Bernardino credit card fraud attorney will know how to assert a lack of intent defense.

If a defendant believed that they were authorized to use a credit card, this legitimate belief may serve as a defense. The innocent use of a card, such as using a corporate card for an employer, does not likely rise to the level of fraud. Another example of a strong defense may involve facts indicating that the defendant used a family member’s card with authorization. Entrapment is another legal defense that may apply in a credit card fraud case. This is the act of creating a situation in which an individual is encouraged to commit a crime that they otherwise would not have committed. Defendants who were set up to use a credit card, for example, may be able to show that they were victims of entrapment.

Consult an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney in Riverside or San Bernardino

If you were charged with credit card fraud, Attorney Gregory H. Comings can provide you with strong legal representation, regardless of your charges and the circumstances posed by your case. He understands the potential complexities of these cases and can provide the representation that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with a credit card fraud lawyer in San Bernardino or Riverside, contact our office by calling (951) 686-3457 or reaching us online. Our office also serves people in Palm Springs, Moreno Valley, Indio, Rancho Cucamonga, Victorville, Highland, and Ontario.

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