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Federal Credit Card Fraud
Many people are surprised when they learn that an allegation of credit card fraud is a federal case. In fact, instances of credit card fraud are illegal under both Michigan and United States law. In many instances, one act can lead to charges in both Michigan state courts and United States District Courts.
The concept of credit card fraud is simple. Anytime a person uses a fake, stolen, or otherwise illegal credit card to attempt a transaction, they commit credit card fraud. In addition, selling stolen credit card data or even receiving goods knowingly purchased with a stolen card also apply. However, only certain instances may lead to a federal case.
No matter the exact circumstances of the charges, a Michigan federal credit card fraud lawyer can work to help you understand why you are facing these charges, comprehend the potential penalties, and develop a defense strategy that meets your individual needs. Work with a seasoned federal fraud attorney that could advocate for you.Credit Card Fraud under Federal Law
The definitions of credit card fraud and the available penalties are provided by 15 U.S.C. §1644. This statute makes it illegal for any person to knowingly use or attempt to use a stolen, fictitious, altered, or forged credit card to obtain anything of value over $1,000. Alternatively, a collection of transactions over a one-year period that comes to the total of $1,000 may also apply.
However, this is not the only way that a person can commit credit card fraud. The statute also illegalizes:
- Transporting or transmitting illegally obtained credit card information
- Selling illegally obtained credit card information
- Knowingly obtaining any goods that were purchased with an illegal credit card
- Purchasing transportation tickets with an illegal credit card
Therefore, allegations of credit card fraud may be far more expansive than simply using a stolen card. Any of these allegations can result in serious penalties including a maximum prison sentence of ten years, a $10,000 fine, or both. A Michigan federal credit card fraud lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties a person may face.When is a Case a Federal Charge as Opposed to a Michigan Charge?
Credit card fraud is not always a federal case. The State of Michigan also prohibits the illegal use of credit cards. But when does an allegation of fraud become a federal matter? The key lies in the language of the federal statute.
The credit card fraud law specifically states that any of the prohibited actions must take place in interstate commerce or travel. This means that a person must use a credit card to purchase an item from another state or country to commit a federal crime. Alternatively, they may use the internet or telephone to make the purchases.
For example, if someone uses a stolen credit card to purchase a computer in Ohio, but lives in Michigan, they may commit a federal crime. In the same vein, if they use a forged credit card to purchase a plane ticket on the internet, this is an example of using interstate communications to commit a fraud. A Michigan federal credit card fraud attorney could help individuals understand why a charge is a federal case and not a Michigan charge.Contacting a Michigan Federal Credit Card Fraud Attorney
Allegations of credit card fraud are serious. These are federal cases that may carry heavy fines and could result in years in prison. However, prosecutors in these cases may need to prove that the transaction takes place and the defendant intended to commit a fraud. Instances of mere mistake may not be able to lead to a conviction.
A Michigan federal credit card fraud lawyer understands the federal credit card fraud laws and the ways that federal investigators use these laws to pursue convictions. They can work with you to fight back against these charges and protect your freedom. Contact a lawyer today to see how they could help you.