In Pennsylvania, any sort of fraudulent activity involving the use of a credit card or debit card is considered a “white collar crime,” or financial crime. An individual can be charged with credit card fraud in Philadelphia if he or she uses a card that is counterfeit, revoked, cancelled, tampered with, missing information, or otherwise not authorized for use. Though nonviolent, credit card fraud and related white-collar crimes can still result in felony charges and serious penalties, particularly in cases where the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) becomes involved in the criminal investigation.
If you or someone you love was recently arrested for credit card fraud in Philadelphia or is currently under investigation for suspected credit card fraud, it is critical for you to contact an experienced credit card fraud defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Lloyd Long, our legal team possesses the extensive knowledge of state and federal legal systems needed to aggressively defend your case. With decades of experience representing defendants in complex white collar crime cases, we understand what it takes to develop a defense strategy that protects your rights, reputation, and freedom. Do not wait to seek help if you or a family member has been accused of credit card fraud or related offenses. Call us today at (215) 525-6818 for a free consultation.
Credit Card Fraud Laws in Philadelphia
Credit card fraud is a colloquial term. The actual name for this offense, which is legally defined under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4106, is “access device fraud,” where the phrase “access device” refers to ATM cards, credit cards, and debit cards.
The access device fraud statute makes it a crime to use an access device if:
- The card in use is a counterfeit, has been altered, or is incomplete
- The card is the property of another person who has not authorized its use
- The card was revoked or canceled when it was used
- The cardholder or card issuer did not authorize the use of the card for any other purpose
The statute also makes it a crime to:
- Make, sell, give, or transfer a prohibited access device
- Possess a credit card or debit card despite “knowing that it is counterfeit, altered, incomplete or belongs to another person who has not authorized its possession”
An example of access device fraud would be finding a person’s credit card at a restaurant and using it to purchase your own meal, without their consent. Additionally, access device fraud does not make special considerations for using the card of a close family member without their permission. It is always best to ask a person for authorization prior to using their debit or credit card. Assuming you have the authority to do so can lead to serious consequences.
Credit Card Fraud Penalties in PA
The criminal penalties for credit card fraud in Pennsylvania depend on the value of the goods or services that were obtained, or which the defendant attempted to obtain. Each credit card or debit card involved in the offense constitutes a separate charge according to Pennsylvania law, which means people in possession of multiple cards will face multiple charges and potentially greater penalties.
If the value was less than $50, access device fraud is considered a second degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years in Pennsylvania. If the value was over $50 but less than $500, the offense is considered a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years. If the value was $500 or more, the offense is considered a third degree felony, which is punishable by a prison sentence of up to seven years. If convicted, the defendant may also be heavily fined and/or placed on probation. The defendant also risks serious damage to his or her career, particularly if:
- The charge is a felony or
- The defendant works in a position or industry where he or she is responsible for handling money, billing customers, or processing payments.
Philadelphia Credit Card Fraud Defense Lawyers Handling White Collar Crimes
Regardless of how much you were accused of stealing, you risk costly fines, jail or prison time, probation, and a criminal record. Credit card fraud can also cause permanent harm to your professional reputation. However, our Philadelphia access device fraud attorneys can help you navigate through the complexities of your case. With thousands of cases successfully handled, we have what it takes to get you back on the right track.
Our criminal attorneys handle credit card fraud and related white collar crime charges throughout Philadelphia. No matter which part of Philadelphia you call home, you should contact our law offices immediately. For a free legal consultation concerning your charges and how we can help, call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 525-6818.