Tampa Credit Card Fraud Lawyer
The credit card industry is responsible for roughly $4 trillion in transactions each year, and the risks of fraud are very high. At O’Mara Law Group, our team of talented Tampa credit card fraud lawyers can help defend against accusations that you stole or inappropriately used another person’s card. Please reach out to us today to begin.
Several Laws Regulate Credit Card Fraud
Many laws regulate the use of credit cards and protect against fraud. Both federal and state courts have jurisdiction over these cases, and defendants might face charges in both forums. For that reason, it is vital that defendants hire a criminal defense attorney who is comfortable in both state and federal court.
Some of the laws that apply to credit card fraud include:
- Stat. § 817.61. This law covers a wide array of conduct and criminalizes obtaining or using a card a person knows is stolen, as well as lying that the cardholder has given permission to use it.
- Stat. § 817.60. This law covers debit cards, which have become increasingly popular. It criminalizes possessing or using a debit card one knows is stolen, as well as other fraudulent activity.
- 15 U.S.C. §1644. Any fraudulent transaction that crosses state lines electronically falls under the federal government’s jurisdiction. This statute criminalizes credit card fraud in interstate or foreign commerce and covers a wide array of conduct, including using a stolen card, altering a card, or fraudulently obtaining one.
Penalties for Credit Card Fraud Are Very Steep
The penalties a defendant faces will depend on which statutes they are prosecuted under, as well as the dollar value of the fraud. Under §817.61, for example, someone who commits fraud valued at less than $100 commits a first-degree misdemeanor and can face up to a year in prison.
By contrast, someone whose fraud is valued at $100 or more can face third-degree felony charges and face up to 5 years in Florida prison and a $5,000 fine. The same is true if, in a six-month period, the defendant used the card three or more times. Felony convictions also cause many defendants to lose important civil rights, such as the right to vote.
We Can Mount an Effective Defense
As with most fraud cases, the prosecutor cannot obtain a conviction unless she shows a defendant acted with sufficient knowledge and intent. For example, it is not illegal to possess a stolen credit card if you do not know it is stolen. It also is not illegal to use a card if you honestly believed you had permission based on the owner’s actions or words.
Every case is different, and the correct defense will depend on the facts. At our firm, we don’t use “one size fits all” approaches when building a defense. Instead, we home in on the prosecution’s weaknesses and find evidence to tell a different story to the judge and jury.
Discuss Your Case with a Tampa Credit Card Defense Lawyer Today
Mark O’Mara is a Board Certified Defense Attorney with decades of experience. He leads a team of dedicated criminal defense lawyers who offer the highest level of service around. Please contact our firm today to discuss your case