Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud has exploded in the Miami and throughout the state of Florida over the past 15 years. The theft of credit card information has become one of the biggest areas of white collar crime being charged in the federal and state courts. Think about how often you hear someone find credit card charges they did not make. Credit card crime is often committed in relation to identity theft. A person involved with phony credit cards is usually using false identification. This is because most in-store credit card purchases require the cardholder to produce some form of picture identification to prove the card is valid. Someone in the business of producing or peddling false credit cards is most likely in the business of peddling false identification documents. If you or someone you love has been charged with credit card fraud, do not hesitate to contact Miami attorney Ken Swartz.

A Federal Criminal Violation

The federal statute that was enacted to deal with credit care fraud is found in Title 18 U.S.C. §1029. This statute makes it a crime to knowingly and with intent to defraud to use, produce, or traffic in counterfeit access devises. An access devise is defined as and card, code, plate, account number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or other means of account access that can be used to obtain money, goods, services, or other thing of value. A counterfeit access device means any device that is counterfeit, fictitious, altered or forged. The statute also covers debit cards, ATM cards, gift cards, gas cards and any other such device. A merchant account number that is used to transact credit card purchases qualifies as an access device.

The federal law makes it a crime to produce or traffic in device-making equipment designed for making credit cards. The statute also makes it an offense to produce or traffic in a scanning receiver, a device that can be used to intercept an electronic serial number or other identifier of a telecommunication system. Cloned cellular telephones access numbers are considered access devices.

To convict a person of credit card fraud in violation of section 1029, the prosecution must prove the following facts:

  1. That the accused person knowingly used one or more access devices, (a credit card), belonging to another person;
  2. The person must intend to defraud;
  3. The person must obtain anything valued at $1,000 or more during a one year period; and
  4. The use must affect interstate commerce.

The penalties for a violation under this statute are 10 years for a first offense. A second offense carries a maximum of 20 years. The Eleventh Circuit held in U.S. v. Klopf that there was sufficient evidence to convict a defendant of credit card fraud where he possessed numerous credit cards in other people’s names, even though he kept the payments up to date. The court found intent to defraud means:

  1. The intent to bring about harm to another; or
  2. To bring about a benefit to oneself through deception.

If you or someone you know is being investigated for or charged with credit care fraud or any federal fraud in Miami, or anywhere in the State of Florida, you need a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer on your side. Ken Swartz has the experience and expertise in criminal law to handle your problem. As one of the top Miami criminal defense attorneys in Florida, he is prepared for your defense.

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