Cecil County Credit Card Fraud Lawyer
Credit cards and other types of cards used as payment make it convenient for Cecil County residents to pay for merchandise and services and even accumulate rewards for shopping. Ease for the consumer also translates to ease of credit card fraud and other forms of abuse. Lawmakers have responded to concerns by enacting special laws applicable to the use of credit cards.
These laws could be difficult to understand, and it is possible for someone to commit credit card fraud without even being aware that they have violated the law. Penalties may be quite severe and might create a damaging criminal record.
If you have been charged with fraud associated with a credit, debit, gift or any other type of payment card, you owe it to yourself to consult a Cecil County credit card fraud lawyer to learn your options for fighting the charges. A knowledgeable fraud attorney could help you protect your rights and work toward a positive outcome.
Types of Cards Covered Under Credit Card Fraud Laws
Maryland Code Annotated, Criminal Law §8-201 explains that the term “credit card” refers to a device issued to enable the holder to obtain goods, services, money or anything else of value on credit. Specifically, with the classic credit card issued by a bank or merchant, a credit card may also be a:
- Debit card
- Access card used to transfer funds through a terminal, computer or telephone
- Magnetic tape authorizing the transfer of credit or debits to an account
- Account number, code or other means of accessing an account to either transfer funds or obtain something of value
While this broad definition covers a range of payment tools including gift cards, checks and other paper instruments are specifically excluded. Speak to a knowledgeable defense lawyer for more information about credit card laws.
Credit Card Fraud Encompasses Different Types of Conduct
Credit card fraud refers to illegal fraudulent actions involving the procurement or use of the financial instruments described above. A person may commit credit card fraud through numerous types of actions.
Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §8-203 prohibits making false statements about identity to obtain a credit card. If the person making the false statement knows it is not true and expects the card issuer to rely on that false statement when issuing credit, the person has committed credit card fraud.
Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §8-204 prohibits actions taking a credit card belonging to another, receiving a credit card that was stolen or misdelivered with the intent to use or sell it to others, or other similar activities. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §8-206 provides penalties for using stolen or counterfeit credit cards to obtain something of value.
If a person is unsure whether their alleged conduct fits the definition of credit card fraud, they could consult a credit card fraud attorney in Cecil County.
Possible Penalties for Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud may be penalized as a misdemeanor or felony depending on certain factors including the type of conduct and the value of the property obtained by the fraud. If someone undertakes several acts of credit card fraud, those acts may be combined together to increase the potential penalties if they constitute a continuing course of conduct.
If a person is found guilty of only a single act of credit card fraud and the amount involved is less than $1,500, the act may be treated as a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum term of imprisonment of 3-18 months depending on the type of fraud.
When the amount involved is $1,500 or more, the crime could become a felony. Courts may issue thousands of dollars in fines and impose a term of imprisonment of five, ten, or 20 years depending on the total amount involved. A Cecil County credit card fraud lawyer could help a person build a defense case to fight credit card fraud penalties.
Consult with a Cecil County Credit Card Fraud Attorney
Before someone may be convicted of a crime, the government must prove certain elements of the crime. In most cases, when fraud is involved, the prosecution must show that the person taking action knew that they were providing wrongful information and that they intended for others to rely on that information.
A seasoned Cecil County credit card fraud lawyer may be able to argue that the accused lacked the requisite intent or that other elements of the case were not proven. To learn what options are available in your case, call now.