Credit is an almost universally accepted form of payment — many people even refuse to carry cash anymore. When a person hands over their credit card, it’s often to someone who takes their card out of sight to process their payment. During that time, it’s all too easy for an individual to steal someone’s valuable credit card information. But while theft may be easy, doing time for credit card fraud is much more difficult.
Below, we discuss credit card fraud and how one swipe can lead to a felony conviction and prison sentence. As you’ll see below, even cases of credit card fraud that are deemed a misdemeanor are not without harsh penalties. If you’ve been accused of credit card fraud, don’t waste another second. Consult a fraud defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm.
Florida Statute 817.61 has an extensive and comprehensive description of credit card fraud. For the purposes of this article, fraudulent use of credit cards is considered an attempt to defraud a person or organization for the purposes of “obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value” by using a forged credit card, passing off that you’re the holder of the card, or using a card that has not been issued. Florida law considers a credit card to be a “credit card, credit plate, bank service card, banking card, check guarantee card, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, or debit card or by any other name.”
Related: 8 Ways You Can Be Accused of Fraud
Under Florida law, committing credit card fraud two or fewer times in any six-month period, or to obtain money, goods, services, etc. valued at less than $100 in any six-month period, is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a one-year prison sentence and $1,000 fine.
However, if in a six-month period a person were to commit credit card fraud two or more times, or obtain money, goods, services, etc. valued at greater than $100, they would be committing a third-degree felony punishable by up to a five-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine.
While a one-year prison sentence is far more tolerable than a five-year prison sentence, any amount of prison time will have a damaging and lasting effect on a person’s life. And we haven’t even covered federal criminal penalties that can result from credit card fraud. Whether done in person or over the internet, this offense will have a lasting impact on a person’s life; however, there are proven defenses that can be employed by an experienced legal team. If you’ve been accused of credit card fraud, consult a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.