The Crimes of Credit Card Fraud and Credit Card Theft

Stolen Credit Card With a Hook in itWhite-collar crimes don’t cause physical harm to another person, but they are serious crimes with significant penalties in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If you are convicted of a white-collar crime, such as credit card theft or credit card fraud, then you may face time in prison, steep financial fines, and irreparable damage to your reputation.

Our experienced credit card theft and credit card fraud defense lawyers are here to make sure that you are treated fairly. We will thoroughly review the case against you and work hard to get the best results possible under Virginia law.

Credit Card Theft

There are several different ways a person could commit credit card theft in Virginia. The crime of credit card theft applies to both physical credit cards and credit card numbers.

According to Virginia Code § 18.2-192, a person is guilty of credit card or credit card number theft if the Commonwealth can prove one of the following:

  • The person stole the credit card or credit card number. The crime includes taking, obtaining, or withholding a credit card or credit card number from the cardholder without the cardholder’s consent.
     
  • The person knowingly received a stolen credit card. It is a crime to receive what you know is a stolen credit card or credit card number and to keep it with the intent to use it, sell it, or give it to someone other than the cardholder or credit card issuer.
     
  • The person knowingly received a lost credit card. Virginia law makes it a crime to keep a credit card or credit card number that you know to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake to the wrong person or address with the intent to use it, sell it, or give it to someone other than the cardholder or credit card issuer.
     
  • The person bought or sold a credit card from a non-issuer. According to this section of the law, it is a crime for a person, who is not the credit card issuer, to sell the credit card or credit card number or to buy a credit card or credit card number from a person other than a credit card issuer.
     
  • The person received credit cards in two or more names during a 12-month period. Anyone who receives credit cards or credit card numbers issued in the names of two or more people, which he knows or should reasonably know were not from a credit card issuer, has committed a crime in Virginia.

Credit Card Theft Penalties

Credit card and credit card number theft is grand larceny. The potential penalties for credit card or credit card number theft include imprisonment in a Virginia correctional facility for not more than 20 years, and a fine of up to $2,500.

Credit Card Fraud

The crime of credit card fraud is defined in Virginia Code § 18.2-192. To be guilty of credit card fraud, a person must act with the intent to defraud a person and do at least one of the following:

  • Use a credit card or credit card number obtained through credit card theft to make a purchase or get money
     
  • Use a credit card or credit card number known to be expired or revoked to make a purchase or get money
     
  • Represent himself as the cardholder, without the cardholder’s consent, to make a purchase or get money
     
  • Use the credit card as debt collateral
     
  • Use the credit card to get a cash advance that he knows will exceed the available credit

Additionally, a person who accepts credit cards as payment for goods, services, or cash advances may commit credit card fraud if the person:

  • Provides the goods, services, or cash advances on a credit card or credit card number he knows is revoked or expired
     
  • Doesn’t provide the goods, services, or money to the cardholder, but charges the credit card issuer anyway
     
  • Charges the credit card company more than the cardholder authorized

Credit Card Fraud Penalties

Depending on the circumstances, credit card fraud may either be a misdemeanor or a felony. Specifically, it can be a:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor. Credit card fraud may be a Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of the fraud is less than $500 in a six-month period. The penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include a jail term of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.
     
  • Class 6 felony. Credit card fraud may be a Class 6 felony if the value of the fraud is $500 or more in any six-month period, or if there is a conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. Typically, the sentence of a Class 6 felony is one to five years in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, but the court may reduce the jail sentence.

Given the seriousness of credit card theft and credit card fraud crimes and penalties, we encourage you to contact our experienced Fairfax credit card crime defense lawyers as soon as possible for a free consultation. Let’s discuss the charges against you, possible defenses, and how to protect your future.