Credit card fraud is a serious crime in Virginia, and the penalties can be severe. Depending on how much they stole, how many fraudulent transactions they made, and other factors, anyone found guilty of credit card fraud could be looking at many years in prison, substantial fines, and other penalties.
If you’ve been accused of or suspect you’re being investigated for credit card fraud, you need to talk to a fraud defense attorney right away. The Fairfax criminal defense lawyers at Whitestone Young, PC, have been helping people accused of crimes for more than 40 years. With several former prosecutors on our team, we know how to build a strong defense, and we have a strong record of securing positive results for our clients.
To learn more about how we can help you with your Virginia credit card fraud case, schedule a confidential consultation by calling our office or visiting our contact page.
When Could You Get Charged With Credit Card Fraud?
Credit card fraud is defined by section 18.2-195 of the Code of Virginia, and it states that someone is guilty of credit card fraud when they:
- Use a stolen credit card or a credit card known to be expired or revoked to obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value
- Pretend to be the owner of a credit card to make a purchase without the owner’s consent
- Withdraw funds from someone else’s bank account using a credit card obtained illegally
- Obtain control over a credit card as a security for debt
Virginia’s credit card fraud law also states that a person commits credit card fraud if they’re authorized to accept a credit card and then make a fraudulent purchase. An example of this would be if a restaurant owner changes someone’s tip on a credit card receipt from $10 or $20, thereby fraudulently charging the customer and the credit card company for an additional $10.
Lastly, people and businesses can be charged with credit card fraud if they provide goods, services, or money to someone using a card that’s stolen, expired, or revoked.
Multiple Counts of Credit Card Fraud
The penalties for credit card fraud depend on the number of counts someone faces, the amount they stole over a given time period, and whether they worked with anyone else to commit fraud.
If the value of everything fraudulently obtained is less than $1,000 in a six-month period, a single count of credit card fraud is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
If the value of everything fraudulently obtained is more than $1,000 in a six-month period, a single count of credit card fraud is a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Lastly, if two or more people work together to perpetuate credit card fraud, the charge is automatically a Class 6 felony, regardless of the amount stolen.
At first glance, these penalties seem fairly minor. However, most credit card fraud cases rarely involve a single charge, as each individual purchase made using a stolen credit card constitutes an instance of fraud. Multiple charges of credit card fraud mean that if you’re found guilty on all counts, the penalties will stack. So instead of a year or perhaps five years in jail, you might be looking at decades of prison time, along with substantial fines.
Defending Against Credit Card Fraud Charges
One key point in credit card fraud cases is that the prosecution must demonstrate that you intended to commit fraud, so the issue of “intent” often plays a crucial role. Some defense strategies commonly used in credit card fraud cases include:
- Showing that you had the credit card holder’s permission to use their card
- Arguing that you did not know that you shouldn’t have used the card
- Demonstrating that you were the victim of mistaken identity and did not commit the crime in question
- Looking at the electronic data used by the credit card company to make sure it’s accurate
- Having evidence against you suppressed if it was obtained illegally by law enforcement
How Whitestone Young Can Help
If you’re accused of credit card fraud, don’t take the risk of not getting help from an experienced defense attorney. The team at Whitestone Young, PC, can help you in a number of ways, including:
- Speaking to police and prosecutors on your behalf so you don’t say anything that could incriminate you
- Looking at the evidence against you to see if it was obtained legally
- Negotiating with law enforcement for a plea agreement
- Representing you in court with a personalized defense strategy
With so much at stake if you’re convicted of credit card fraud, don’t wait to speak to a Fairfax criminal defense lawyer. Get your initial consultation by calling (703) 912-0487 or visiting our contact page.