Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney in Phoenix
Have you been charged with credit card fraud? There are a number of different offenses under that general heading in the Arizona Criminal Code, and they have different elements, different classifications, and different potential penalties. To understand the implications of the charges, you need to know the specifics of the case. That will determine, for example, whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor, and whether the prosecutor will seek jail or prison time, and if so, how much.
At The Feldman Law Firm, we know the laws and we know how prosecutors put together their cases. If there are weaknesses in the prosecutor’s arguments, we’ll find them. Any potential defenses will be explored and utilized, and we will negotiate, where applicable, to provide you with the best chance of a dismissal or a reduced charge. If appropriate, we will take the case to trial, with the aim of securing a not guilty verdict. If you have been accused of credit card fraud, contact us for a free consultation.
What is Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud under Arizona law comes in a variety of forms. Here are some of the questions that will determine the classification and severity of the charges:
- Did you steal or fraudulently obtain the credit card? This is a class 5 felony.
- Was the credit card fraudulently used, and if so, what is the value of whatever was purchased? Depending upon the value of item or services purchased, this can be a classified anywhere from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 5 felony.
- Was the credit card altered or forged with intent to defraud? This is a class 4 felony.
- Was the credit card signed with the name of any person, actual or fictitious, with intent to defraud? Class 4 felony.
- Were you in possession of an incomplete credit card, intending to complete it, without the consent of the owner (class 1 misdemeanor)? Were you in possession of machinery or other equipment used for the production of credit cards by an issuer without the issuer’s consent (class 6 felony)?
- Did you knowingly make a materially false statement in writing as to your financial condition or your identity, intending that others rely upon it in connection with procuring a credit card? This is a class 5 felony.
- Did you furnish money, goods or services based upon presentation of a credit card which you knew was stolen, forged, expired or cancelled? This is a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 6 felony.
- Did you obtain payment on a credit card charge but fail to furnish the goods or other thing of value for which the payment was made? This can be a class 1 misdemeanor or a serious felony, depending upon the value of the goods or services.
- As a merchant, did you knowingly and without authorization present the record of a transaction for payment by the credit card issuer for a sale that was not made by you? Did you solicit a merchant to do so? This can be anywhere from a class 1 misdemeanor up to a class 3 felony.
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In addition to Arizona state law, credit card fraud is also a crime under federal law. Federal law generally prohibits the use or attempted use of counterfeit, altered, lost or stolen credit cards in any transaction affecting interstate or foreign commerce. 15 U.S.C. § 1644. The federal law carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Clearly, the scope of the law goes well beyond what most people would describe as credit card fraud, that is, intentionally using a fake or stolen credit card to obtain goods or services. The specifics and severity of the offense, and the penalty, will vary according to the specific conduct alleged, and, in some cases, the amount of money or the value of goods or services involved.
Defenses to Credit Card Fraud Charges
There are numerous defenses to a charge of credit card fraud. They include:
- Identity Theft. It may turn out that you have been the victim of identity theft, and that you were not responsible for the fraudulent use of the credit card.
- Lack of Intent. If you believe you were entitled to use the card, and lacked the intent to defraud anyone, you lack the necessary intent to support a fraud charge.
- Lack of Evidence. Every element of your charge must be proven by the prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt. Claims that are not supported by the evidence can and should be dismissed.
These are just some of the possible defenses that may be available in your case.
Defense of Credit Card Fraud Charges in Phoenix, AZ
Like many of the criminal laws in Arizona, credit card fraud is a complicated subject. You want an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner.
At The Feldman Law Firm, we understand what you are going through, and we are prepared to fight to provide you with the best chance of a dismissal, a reduced charge or a not guilty verdict. Call us today for a free consultation.