Finding yourself charged with credit card fraud is more common than most people realize. It’s not unusual to have a credit card that’s in another person’s name, and a simple misunderstanding can end with very serious accusations.
If you or a loved one are accused of fraudulently using a credit card, it’s best to have an experienced defense lawyer help. Without proper representation, you may accept responsibility that doesn’t belong to you just to get the situation over with. But this can severely damage your record, reputation, career prospects, and even land you behind bars.
In Cincinnati, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates and speak to attorney Brad Groene. With years of experience and a record of success in credit card cases, he’s ready to help you find the best possible outcome. Call (513) 338-1890 for a free and confidential consultation 24/7.
Credit Card Fraud Laws
You or a loved one may have been charged after a credit card fraud investigation, which may involve:
- Tracing credit card numbers reported by owners as lost or stolen
- Tracking account numbers of lost or stolen cards as they are used
- Sting operations where law enforcement agents pose as illegal credit card brokers
- Law enforcement alerting stores and businesses to potential credit card fraud perpetrators
- Without the other person’s consent, using, obtaining, or possessing personal identifying information of the other person with the intent to impersonate the other person or present the other person’s personal identifying information as their own
- Creating, obtaining, possessing, or using the personal identifying information of any person to aid or abet another in identity fraud
- With the intent to defraud, permitting one’s own personal identifying information to be used in identity fraud
Misuse of credit cards includes:
- An unauthorized online purchase
- Purchases with a stolen or fraudulent device
- Having and creating fake card readers
- Asking others to make fraudulent transactions
Federal law covers any “transaction affecting interstate or foreign commerce” impacted by credit card fraud. This could include stolen credit cards shipped or transported across state lines, the postal system’s use, or purchasing items with a stolen credit number and having them shipped across state borders. Goods or services at issue must be worth more than $1,000 a year.
Potential Credit Card Fraud Penalties
Identity fraud under is a felony in Ohio, with penalties going up based on the amount and whether the victim is in a “protected class” (an elderly person, disabled adult, military member on active duty, or the spouse of an active duty service member).
Misuse of credit cards, depending on the situation, can be a misdemeanor or a felony.
Penalties for these crimes range from up to 180 days in jail and or a fine up to $1,000 on the low end to up to an eight-year prison sentence, restitution, and a fine of up to $50,000. A conviction on a federal charge could result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence up to ten years.
Potential Defense to a Credit Card Fraud Charge
An affirmative defense is one that, if you prove it’s true, even the crime elements are established, you would not be guilty of a crime. Affirmative defenses to an identity fraud charge include:
- The person using the card was lawfully acting as a guardian, conservator, trustee, or fiduciary
- The person whose information was used gave his or her consent
- The personal identifying information was obtained, possessed, used, created, or permitted for a lawful purpose
The prosecution must carry its burden to prove the crime took place, beyond a reasonable doubt. Those accused of credit card theft may successfully defend themselves if they can show they lacked criminal intent. They believed they had permission to use the credit card or didn’t know the credit card number was stolen.
How a Cincinnati Credit Card Fraud Attorney Can Help You
If you are under investigation or have been charged in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, contact an experienced Cincinnati credit card fraud attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates for a free consultation. Representing yourself in a criminal matter may be a mistake you’ll regret for the rest of your life. We may see legal or factual issues that could substantially weaken the case or bring it to an end. You may not even realize these issues exist.
Attorney Brad Groene will review your situation and help you understand your options. You may be able to avoid formal charges altogether. Don’t hesitate to call (513) 338-1890 or contact us online for a free consultation 24/7.