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Credit Card Fraud
Chicago Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney
Defending Against Credit Card Fraud and Unlawful Use of a Credit Card—Chicago Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney
With ever developing technology, credit card fraud has become increasingly common in recent years. In Illinois, this crime is broadly defined to include the crimes of credit card fraud, unlawful use of a credit card, and wrongful utilization of an account number. Credit card cloning has become the most common form of credit card theft, accounting for nearly 40% of all cases. Cloning involves sweeping a legitimate card, storing the data, and then transferring it to a dummy card. The traditional avenue of using a lost or stolen card still accounts for over 20% of all credit card fraud cases. No-card fraud, wherein the offender uses just the data, makes up another 10%. Lastly, non-receipt fraud, or stealing new cards in the mail, accounts for another 7% of all cases.
Credit card fraud has garnered much media attention and a renewed effort on the part of most anti-crime activists to crack down on this component of identity theft. Due to political pressures, the state of Illinois takes the crime of credit card fraud very seriously. Recently, punishments for several forms of credit card fraud crimes have been increased by the legislature from misdemeanors to felonies. Depending upon the number of victims involved, the exact offense, and the amount stolen, those charged with credit card fraud could face the possibility of two to five years in prison, tens of thousands of dollars in fines, and restitution.
Overview of Credit Card Fraud in Illinois
The Illinois Compiled Statutes sets out the crimes of Credit and Debit Card Fraud under the general crimes of Deception ( 720 ILCS 5/Art. 17, Subdivision 25 ). Further, it contains the Illinois Credit Card and Debit Card Act. Together, these statutory sections define nearly every sort of fraudulent act involving credit and debit cards. Under Illinois credit and debit card fraud laws, it is illegal to:
- Make false statements to obtain a credit or debit card
- Possess the credit or debit card of another with intent to defraud
- Sell or transfer the debit or credit card of another knowing it was obtained without the account holder’s permission
- Possessing a lost or mislaid credit or debit card
- Selling a credit or debit card without consent of the owner
- Using a credit or debit card to secure a debt, with intent to defraud
- Use of counterfeited, unissued, forged, revoked, or expired credit or debit cards with intent to defraud the issuer or any other person
- Use of credit or debit card with intent to defraud
- Use of account number or code with intent to defraud
- Possession of record of charge forms
- Signing another’s card with intent to defraud
- Altering or counterfeiting a card
- Fraudulent use of an electronic transfer
- Possession of an incomplete card
- Prohibited deposits
- Payment of charges without furnishing item of value
- Furnishing items of value with intent to defraud
Punishment for Credit Card Fraud
Illinois imposes serious penalties for those found guilty of committing credit card fraud. The exact punishment will depend upon the number of victims, prior conviction for fraud offenses, the dollar value of the fraud, and the exact crime committed. The legislature has recently increased penalties for many crimes falling under the Illinois Credit and Debit Card Fraud Act. Most credit card fraud offenses are considered Class 4 felonies at a minimum. Class 4 felonies are punishable by one to three years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. As a felony, the crime will be reported nationwide by the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification. It will be discoverable by employers. Probation is an option for Class 4 felonies, but it will entail much time, commitment, and come at a financial cost. Failure to comply with the terms of your probation can result in penitentiary time.
Many credit card fraud charges are considered Class 3 or Class 2 felonies. Class 3 felonies are punishable by two to five years in prison and a $150,000 fine. Class 2 felonies can result in jail time of three to seven years and fines of up to $200,000. These severe penalties will have serious repercussions on the defendant’s freedom and financial future.
In addition to criminal charges, those found guilty of credit card fraud can be liable to the victim in a civil suit. The defendant can be forced to pay the damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees of the fraud victim.
Effective Defense against Chicago Credit Card Fraud Charges
Defense of credit card fraud charges will often revolve around the mental state of the defendant. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly used, possessed, sold, etc., the credit card of another with intent to defraud. Often, the accused was not aware the card was stolen or did not intend to use it in a fraudulent manner. Mounting a defense of lack of intent will involve much investigation of the circumstances of the act.
Mistaken identity is another common defense against credit card fraud charges. Eyewitnesses are not often involved in these cases, so it is easy for mistakes to be made.
Depending upon the facts of your cases, a Fourth Amendment challenge may be necessary. Evidence of credit card fraud is often seized by the government from your home or business. If proper protocol was not followed, or probable cause did not exist, a knowledgeable defense attorney such as David L. Freidberg can raise a strong argument for suppression of the evidence.
Further, in this Digital Age, credit card fraud frequently transpires on the internet. At times, viruses and the actions of hackers in taking over of IP addresses can lead to false accusations on innocent internet users. An expert in the field of IT law can successfully challenge such evidence. Our offices regularly utilizes such experts in our defense.
Start Your Defense As Soon As Possible
Often, individuals facing credit card fraud charges will be contacted by law enforcement in advance of the filing of formal charges. It is best to contact a experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you suspect you are under investigation for credit card fraud. Our attorneys can guide you through the investigative process, ensuring your rights are protected to the fullest. Sometimes, charges can be avoided entirely through early measures. Even if the charges are unavoidable, the information gleaned from your attorney during this initial period will prove crucial for your later defense. As always, never speak to an investigator or any law enforcement personnel without the presence of an attorney.
The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C.: Providing Zealous Defense against Credit Card Fraud Charges
Credit card fraud is a broad, multifaceted crime that carries with it the possibility of serious prison time, hefty fines, restitution, and a lifetime criminal record. No matter what type of credit card fraud charges you face in Chicago or the surrounding areas, The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C. will provide the strongest possible defense on your behalf. We work with industry leaders to investigate the facts of your case and uncover any potential exculpatory evidence. Our attorney team has decades of experience in white collar crime defense, and harbors an unmatched understanding of the law. Our dedication, knowledge, and skill will provide you with the best chance of obtaining a successfully outcome. Contact us today at (312) 560-7100, or toll free at 1 (800) 803-1442, to schedule your free consultation today. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.
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