Although the damages may be less apparent in white-collar crimes than in offenses such as assault, they are not “victimless” crimes. In fact, white-collar crimes like fraud lead to significant financial losses every year. Prosecutors aggressively pursue charges of fraud on state and federal levels, and anyone convicted of such a crime can expect serious penalties ranging from fines and restitution to lengthy prison sentences.
If you are facing charges of credit card fraud, contact a Nashville credit card fraud lawyer immediately. Fraud cases involve complex laws and lengthy court proceedings. Thus, securing representation from an attorney who specializes in white-collar crimes is crucial to effectively fight these charges. Attorney Patrick McNally has decades of experience helping clients successfully navigate accusations of fraud.
Credit card fraud refers to a broad range of crimes involving either outright theft or deceptive, unauthorized use of a person’s credit card information for financial gain. The goal of credit card fraud is usually to withdraw cash from the bank or financial institution issuing the card or purchasing goods or services with the cardholder’s line of credit without paying for them. When someone steals any type of credit card information and uses it for their own gain, their actions are considered credit card fraud. In many cases, credit card fraud also involves other forms of fraud, including identity theft, mail fraud, and computer fraud.
Credit card fraud occurs in many ways, but most of these crimes can be classified into two main categories—“card present” and “card not present.” Card present crimes occur when the offender steals the physical credit card, engages in schemes to obtain a credit card in another person’s name, requests replacement cards, or otherwise comes into possession of the card itself to make purchases or request cash advances. Card not present crimes do not require the offender to gain access to the physical card but involve recording the card information for future fraudulent use.
Common types of credit card fraud include:
All levels of government have enacted statutes that prohibit the above behaviors and establish criminal penalties for convictions of credit card fraud. If you are charged with credit card fraud, the prosecuting attorney must show proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you took the actions you are accused of. The standards for reasonable doubt may differ based on the state or federal charges you face. In most cases, the prosecution must prove that you fraudulently obtained another person’s person or financial information or forged their name to apply for a credit card and complete a credit card transaction.
Fraud statutes typically feature general terms designed to encompass the distinct types of fraud. Then, specific penalties are assigned based on the value of the cash or goods obtained through fraudulent means. For example, a statute might classify credit card fraud as a misdemeanor if the offender did not obtain any stolen goods with the card or if the value of the stolen property does not exceed a certain amount. A misdemeanor credit card fraud conviction may carry a fine of approximately $1,000 and a county jail sentence of one year. When the value of the stolen property increases, the penalties increase, as well. A felony credit card fraud conviction may carry a $25,000 fine or a state prison sentence of fifteen years. In most situations, you will also be expected to provide restitution to any victims affected by the crime.
If you are accused of credit card fraud, the only way to ensure you have the best chance at avoiding a conviction is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. A Nashville credit card fraud lawyer can help you understand your charges, explain how the law applies to your case, and determine the potential penalties you may face in your jurisdiction if you are convicted.
If you plan to fight these charges in court, your lawyer will thoroughly review all the prosecution’s evidence against you to identify any discrepancies or weaknesses. They will then complete an independent investigation, establish a strong defense strategy, and advocate on your behalf at trial. With an attorney’s help, you can avoid incriminating yourself, reduce the likelihood of a conviction, lessen any potential penalties, or possibly have your case dismissed altogether.
Facing prosecution for credit card fraud can be a confusing, frustrating, and even terrifying experience. While other white-collar crimes may carry a reduced stigma compared to violent crimes, credit card fraud is seen as particularly harmful to society. Thus, prosecutors are often motivated to “make an example” of defendants by imposing the harshest consequences. Even after fulfilling the criminal and administrative penalties of a conviction, fraud can have serious, long-term consequences on your personal and professional life for decades to come. Handling a complex case involving multiple state and federal statutes is virtually impossible without legal assistance.
At McNally Law, we offer the expert legal counsel you need to fight against credit card fraud charges. Our award-winning firm is dedicated to protecting your rights, creating the best defense strategy for you, and obtaining the optimal outcome in your case. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.