What is credit card fraud and what penalties might I face?

Credit Card Being Used for Credit Card FraudThere are a number of credit card offenses in Virginia that are aggressively prosecuted. One serious crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony is credit card fraud. If you are facing these charges, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you create a successful defense so that you reach the best possible outcome given your circumstances.

What Is Credit Card Fraud?

Virginia Code § 18.2-195 makes it a crime for a person to knowingly use a credit card to obtain something of value with the intent to defraud. There are many ways that a person can commit this crime. Some examples include:

  • Knowingly using a stolen, lost, expired, or revoked credit card or credit card number
     
  • Using another individual’s credit card without his permission
     
  • Using an un-issued credit card to obtain something of value
     
  • Obtaining money over the card’s credit limits with the intent to defraud
     
  • Getting control of a credit card or credit card number as security for collateral for a debt

A person who is authorized to provide goods, services, or anything of value upon the presentation of a valid credit card can also commit credit card fraud if he does any of the following with the intent to deceive the card’s issuer:

  • Gives another individual goods, services, or anything else of value when he knows that the credit card was stolen, expired, or revoked
     
  • Tells the credit card issuer that goods, services, or other things of value were provided to the cardholder when they were not
     
  • Charges a credit card with more than was authorized by the cardholder

Penalties You May Face If Convicted of Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the goods, services, or other things of value fraudulently obtained. A person may face these penalties:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor. If an individual defrauds another of less than $500 within a six-month period, the offense is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, the person may be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
     
  • Class 6 felony. If the value of the goods, or services is $500 or more within a six-month period, the credit card fraud would be charged as a Class 6 felony. The punishment may be a prison sentence of one to five years and a maximum fine of $2,500. However, the judge or jury deciding the case has the discretion to reduce the sentence to a jail of sentence of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Conspiracy to Commit Credit Card Fraud

It is also a crime to conspire with or help another person to commit credit card fraud under

Virginia Code § 18.2-195 whether the crime is committed in or outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia. This crime is a Class 6 felony, and the penalties are the same as for a felony credit card fraud offense.

Have you been charged with credit card fraud? Our experienced white collar crime attorneys understand the complexities of these cases and can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face. To learn more, call our Fairfax office to schedule your free consultation today.