Now that people are using less cash and more electronic forms of payment, credit card fraud has become more common. Most cases of credit card fraud are prosecuted under state law, but some are also prosecuted under federal law. If you are being investigated or charged with credit card fraud in New Jersey, it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney right away.
What Is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud is when someone uses a credit card, debit card, or another form of electronic payment without permission. This can be done by using someone else's credit card, making purchases with a stolen credit card, or buying things online with a fake or stolen credit card number. There are different types of credit card fraud that can be prosecuted under state or federal law, depending on what was alleged to have been done.
What Are the Different Types of Federal Credit Card Fraud?
There are many different types of credit card fraud. Technology has gotten better, so criminals have gotten smarter about how to use your credit card illegally. The different types of credit card fraud that are illegal under federal law include:
- Buying items on the internet with a false or stolen credit card number
- Using another person's identity to buy something
- Making fake credit cards
- Stealing real credit cards
- Using fake bank account numbers to open new credit accounts
- Illegally logging in and using someone else's bank account information in order to make purchases without permission
Illegal credit card activity is prohibited under federal law pursuant to the following federal criminal statutes:
- 18 U.S. Code Section 1344 - Fraud Involving Electronic Fund Transfers
- 18 U.S. Code Section 1029 – Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Access Devices
- 18 U.S. Code Section 1028 – Possession of Imitation Federal Reserve Notes, Bonds, etc.
Credit card fraud can occur when someone uses someone else's credit card number to make a purchase, even if they don't have the physical card. This can also be done by opening a line of credit using someone else's personal information. It doesn't matter if the crime only happened online, as long as it affected interstate commerce, it can be a federal crime as long as it virtually crossed state lines.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Federal Credit Card Fraud?
People who are convicted of federal credit card fraud can face strict penalties. These penalties can include a lot of money in fines imposed by the court and lengthy time in prison. An individual convicted of federal credit card fraud can be sentenced to up to 10 years in federal prison, and the fines can be up to $250,000 or twice the amount of what the person gained from the crime. People who have been convicted of other federal crimes may also have to make mandatory restitution payments to their victims. If you are convicted of a federal crime such as credit card fraud, then your convictions are likely permanent. Federal law does not currently allow for expungements, and the only way to remove a crime like this from your federal criminal record is to receive a presidential pardon.
What Are Some Defenses to Federal Credit Card Fraud?
There are several potential defenses that may be available if you are charged with federal credit card fraud. The facts and circumstances will dictate the type of defense that you can successfully use. This can include arguing that you did not know that the credit card information was false or stolen or that you were forced into participating in the illegal activity by someone else. Sometimes, a defense can be used where the credit card transactions were completed while the defendant was intoxicated or under duress.
In any fraud case, the main criminal element is intent. For a United States Attorney to successfully convict you of fraud, he or she must be able to prove that you specifically intended to defraud your alleged victim. This means that you meant to complete the criminal activity alleged. If the alleged credit card fraud was an honest mistake, then this can be used as a defense. Make sure that you work with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If you live in the state of New Jersey, then all federal criminal cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. This is the court where all federal criminal trials in the district take place. If you are not happy with the decision made by this court, then you can appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Any further appeals would go to the United States Supreme Court.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. This person can help you understand the situation you are in and what your options are. They can also help you figure out if it is a good idea to go to trial or try to work out a resolution. It is important to know everything about the allegations against you and what evidence exists before making a decision. If you have questions, then call us at Lento Law for our help.
Why Hiring Lento Law Is the Right Choice
If you are being investigated or prosecuted for credit card fraud by the federal government, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Lento Law is the right choice to help defend your federal criminal case.