If you have been accused of credit card fraud, you may face fines and time in the county jail. Often, you would be ordered to pay restitution to cover the losses suffered by your victims. In some cases, you would be charged with multiple crimes, including both misdemeanors and felonies. Stealing a debit or credit card number and fraudulently using it is a crime, and in Kentucky, it is a felony. If you are accused of this type of crime you need an experienced fraud lawyer.
The Legal Definition Credit And Debit Cards
You can be accused of fraud for the theft of either of the cards.
- A Debit Card is plastic currency or plastic money. The owner can use it to buy things instead of using cash. Typically, the banks issue a Debit Card and services are based on the funds that are deposited into the owner’s checking or savings account. All transactions made through the Debit Card are reflected in the owner’s bank account statement.
- A Credit Card means any card, plate, coupon book, or other credit device existing for the purpose of obtaining money, property, labor, or services issued by a bank or financial institution that allows the owner to receive goods.
3 Types of Credit and Debit Card Fraud Under Kentucky Law
- Cardholder Fraud – Fraud by false statements. If you lie on your credit card application and receive a line of credit that you would have otherwise been denied, you have technically committed fraud. This includes lying about your name, social security number, address, or income. This is an especially serious crime if you try to get a credit card in someone else’s name by filling out an entire application with their personal information.
- Merchant Crimes Fraud – Merchant crimes occur when a merchant or service provider falsely claims that they provided goods, or services and charges the card when no goods or services were actually provided. Even when the goods or services in question are sold legally, falsely representing the nature of a credit card payment violates the processing merchant’s agreement with its acquiring bank. Using such a scheme to sell products illegally may also violate a number of state, federal, and AML laws depending on the nature of the transaction.
- Third-party Fraud – Triangulation fraud is when a customer makes a genuine purchase on a third-party marketplace, but the product they receive was fraudulently purchased from a different retailer’s website. This is a convenient scheme for cybercriminals, who take advantage of smaller merchants to make some quick cash. Third-party crimes also include stealing cards, buying or selling cards, and phishing ( using the card yourself or selling the information on the card). And even making false credit cards.
Federal Laws can also be applied to the prosecution of credit and debit card theft and fraud: The vast majority of credit card fraud cases are prosecuted under state laws and courts, but they can also be charged as a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. § 1029. Credit card fraud occurs in many ways and several federal statutes can be used by a prosecutor to indict someone who has violated federal laws.
Federal penalties for using a “device” to commit fraud (the law defines a credit card as such a device) can include up to 20 years in prison, plus fines and forfeiture of personal assets. U.S. Code. 18 U.S.C. Kentucky state law declares that a person found guilty can be fined and imprisoned for up to 50 years.
If you’ve been charged with credit card fraud you need legal counsel. Credit card fraud is a white-collar offense and you need an experienced defense attorney to help determine the nature of the charges and which defense will be the most effective.
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