Criminal Defense & Credit Card Fraud: Forgery, Identity Theft and Other Criminal Offenses – Part I

If you are accused of credit fraud in New York, be prepared to spend a significant time with your criminal defense attorney so he or she can outline the potential criminal charges and consequences you may face. The list of crimes is vast…Identity Theft, Forgery, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, Grand Larceny, Falsifying Business Records and many more. As a a former Manhattan prosecutor who was one of the original members of the Identity Theft Unit when the unit was first created, I can tell you that the the crimes relating to credit card fraud are actively and aggressively being pursued every day by members of both state and federal law enforcement.

Credit card fraud comes in various “shapes” and “sizes.” From the possession of a stolen credit card or a fake credit card to the use of a credit card that has already been revoked. Depending on whether the credit card is used or attempted to be used, the crimes that may be charged can spiral further into major felonies with serious terms of imprisonment.

Before diving into the gravity of credit card “bust outs,” “carding” or other more serious offenses, this entry will deal with a more “simple crime” that most people probably don’t even know exists. As stated above, you may be accused of credit card fraud if you merely use a credit card that is in fact revoked and you know that it was revoked.

According to Penal Law 165.17, you are guilty of Unlawful Use of Credit Card, Debit Card or Public Benefit Card “when in the course of obtaining or attempting to obtain property or a service, [you] use or display a credit card, debit card or public benefit card which [you] know to be revoked or canceled.” This crime is an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

While this offense is on the lower level of crimes relating to credit card fraud, that does not mean that it should be taken lightly. In fact, if you successfully obtain property that is equal to or in excess of $1,000, $3,000 or $50,000, Unlawful Use of a Credit Card is the least of your worries. Now, prosecutors can charge you with Grand Larceny – a felony.

Due to the seriousness of this crime and the potential to unwittingly perpetrate related offenses, if you are accused of credit card fraud seek out criminal defense attorneys with real experience in this area. You may have a valid defense that needs to be explored by criminal defense attorneys who know how to fight these charges. A simple question right out of the gate for Unlawful Use of a Credit Card is did you know that the card was revoked or canceled? If so, how is the prosecution going to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt? Is there evidence that you tried to use the card before? Did the credit card company mail you a notice? If not, then it may be that your actions, albeit irresponsible, are not criminal. Whatever the case may be, an experienced criminal defense attorney can put forth the strongest and most credible challenge to make sure that your rights, liberty, and integrity are maintained.

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