Credit Card Fraud
While many people think of acts of fraud as being complex schemes involving meticulous planning, one of the most common types of this crime involve the illegal use of credit cards or debit cards. Whether it is using the actual card of another party or using information associated with such a card, many improper actions are prohibited under both state and federal laws.
In many cases of alleged credit or debit card fraud, people accused of wrongdoing had absolutely no criminal intent and oftentimes believed they had the expressed permission of the cardholders to perform certain transactions. It is important to take these criminal charges seriously, as convictions can result in enormous fines and lengthy terms of incarceration.
Lawyer for Credit Card Fraud Defense in San Antonio, TX
If you have been arrested or think that you could be under investigation for fraudulent use of a credit or debit card in Texas, you should not delay in seeking legal counsel. Goldstein & Orr has been defending clients throughout Bexar County since 1968.
Gerry Goldstein, Cynthia Orr, Van Hilley, and Don Flanary are experienced and respected criminal defense attorneys in San Antonio who have served in leadership roles for various legal organizations and have been asked to speak at prominent legal seminars around the country. They can review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation when you call (210) 226-1463 today.
County Credit Card Fraud Information Center
- What constitutes an act of credit or debit card fraud under state law in Texas?
- When do acts of debit or credit card fraud result in federal charges?
- Where can I find more information about credit and debit card fraud?
Acts of credit or debit card fraud in the Lone Star State are prosecuted under credit card or debit card abuse in Texas Penal Code § 32.31. This statute establishes 11 possible violations that can result in criminal charges, including alleged offenders doing any of the following:
- With intent to obtain a benefit fraudulently, presenting or using a credit card or debit card with knowledge that the card, whether or not expired, has not been issued to them and is not used with the effective consent of the cardholder, or the card has expired or has been revoked or cancelled;
- With intent to obtain a benefit, using a fictitious credit card or debit card or the pretended number or description of a fictitious card;
- Receiving a benefit that they know has been illegally obtained;
- Stealing a credit card or debit card or, with knowledge that it has been stolen, receive a credit card or debit card with intent to use it, to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder;
- Buying a credit card or debit card from a person who they know is not the issuer;
- Not being the issuer, selling a credit card or debit card;
- Using or inducing the cardholder to use the cardholder’s credit card or debit card to obtain property or service for their benefit for which the cardholder is financially unable to pay;
- Not being the cardholder, and without the effective consent of the cardholder, possessing a credit card or debit card with intent to use it;
- Possessing two or more incomplete credit cards or debit cards that have not been issued to them with intent to complete them without the effective consent of the issuer (a card is considered incomplete if part of the matter that an issuer requires to appear on the card before it can be used, other than the signature of the cardholder, has not yet been stamped, embossed, imprinted, or written on it);
- Being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, they, with intent to defraud the issuer or the cardholder, furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card obtained or retained in violation of this section or a credit card or debit card that is forged, expired, or revoked; or
- Being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, they, with intent to defraud the issuer or a cardholder, fail to furnish goods or services that they represent in writing to the issuer that they have furnished.
In most cases, any of the violations listed above are classified as a state jail felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to two years in jail.
If the alleged victim of an act of credit or debit card fraud is an elderly person, then the alleged offense becomes a third-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to five years in prison.
When an alleged act of credit or debit card fraud involves interstate or foreign commerce, then an alleged offender can possibly result in federal charges. Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices is codified under 18 U.S. Code § 1029.
Federal law defines an access device as “any card, plate, code, account number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier, or other means of account access that can be used, alone or in conjunction with another access device, to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds (other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument).”
Alleged offenders could face a fine of up to $250,000 and/or be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if they:
- Knowingly and with intent to defraud produce, use, or traffic in one or more counterfeit access devices;
- Knowingly and with intent to defraud traffic in or use one or more unauthorized access devices during any one-year period, and by such conduct obtains anything of value aggregating $1,000 or more during that period;
- Knowingly and with intent to defraud possess 15 or more devices which are counterfeit or unauthorized access devices;
- Without the authorization of the issuer of the access device, knowingly and with intent to defraud solicit a person for the purpose of offering an access device or selling information regarding or an application to obtain an access device;
- Knowingly and with intent to defraud use, produce, traffic in, have control or custody of, or possess a telecommunications instrument that has been modified or altered to obtain unauthorized use of telecommunications services; or
- Without the authorization of the credit card system member or its agent, knowingly and with intent to defraud cause or arrange for another person to present to the member or its agent, for payment, one or more evidences or records of transactions made by an access device.
Alleged offenders could receive a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or be ordered to pay a maximum fine of $250,000 if they:
- Knowingly, and with intent to defraud, produce, traffic in, have control or custody of, or possess device-making equipment;
- Knowingly and with intent to defraud affect transactions, with one or more access devices issued to another person or persons, to receive payment or any other thing of value during any one-year period the aggregate value of which is equal to or greater than $1,000;
- Knowingly and with intent to defraud use, produce, traffic in, have control or custody of, or possess a scanning receiver; or
- Knowingly use, produce, traffic in, have control or custody of, or possess hardware or software, knowing it has been configured to insert or modify telecommunication identifying information associated with or contained in a telecommunications instrument so that such instrument may be used to obtain telecommunications service without authorization.
If alleged offenders have been previously convicted of any of these offenses, then they face a fine and/or up to 20 years in prison. If convicted of any of these crimes, any personal property of the alleged offenders used or intended to be used to commit the offenses is subject to forfeiture to the United States.
Financial Crimes Unit | The City of San Antonio — The Financial Crimes Unit of the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) is divided into a Forgery Unit and a White Collar Unit. The Forgery Unit investigates such cases as credit card abuse, identity theft, and counterfeit or forged checks, while the White Collar Unit investigates embezzlement, elder fraud, and other complex financial crimes. You can file complaints, report crimes, and learn more about these units on this website.
San Antonio Police Department
Public Safety Headquarters building (PSHQ)
315 South Santa Rosa Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78207
Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud | Consumer Information — You can learn about how credit card fraud happens, what you can do, and how to report losses and fraud on this section of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website. Additional information includes what to do if you have a lost or stolen credit, ATM, and debit card as well as tips about so-called “Credit Card Loss Protection.” You can also learn how to keep your personal information secure.
Lawyer for Credit Card Fraud in San Antonio, Texas
Do you believe that you are currently being investigated or have you already been arrested in Texas for alleged credit or debit card fraud? Whether you are facing possible state or federal charges, we recommend you immediately seek legal representation.
Goldstein & Orr aggressively defends clients accused of all kinds of white collar criminal offenses in Bexar County. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (210) 226-1463 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.