Credit Card Fraud
If you are facing charges for credit card fraud, do not wait to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The penalties for fraud crimes in Michigan are harsh, and the best thing you can do for yourself is work with a Lansing credit card fraud lawyer who is prepared to build you the strongest defense possible under the law.
At DeBruin Law, PLLC, we understand that these types of accusations can result in serious consequences – they can damage your career, reputation and family life. The criminal penalties of a conviction can send you to jail or prison, away from your friends and family, and into financial ruin. Call us today at 517-731-0353 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.
Michigan Credit Card Fraud Law
If you are accused of possessing, using, or altering a credit or debit card without permission and with the intention of obtaining something of value with it, then you may be charged under one of the following sections of the Michigan Penal Code (MPC) for credit card fraud:
- MPC Section 750.157n states that anyone who steals, knowingly takes, or knowingly removes a financial transaction device and who knowingly keeps or uses it without the consent of the owner is guilty of a felony. Also, anyone who knowingly possesses a fraudulent or altered financial transaction device is guilty of a felony.
- MPC Section 750.157p states that anyone who possesses or receives another person’s financial transaction device with the intent to use, deliver, or sell it without the consent of the owner is guilty of a felony.
- MPC Section 750.157r states that anyone who, with the intent to defraud, forges, alters, simulates, or counterfeits a financial transaction device is guilty of a felony.
- MPC Section 750.157s states that anyone who, with the intent to defraud, knowingly uses a revoked or canceled financial transaction device is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the individual’s criminal history and the value of money or services obtained.
- MPC Section 750.157w states that anyone who knowingly, and with the intent to defraud, uses a financial transaction device to withdraw or transfer funds in violation of a contractual limitation is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony.
The use of the term “financial transaction device” may seem confusing or bring to mind an ATM or card reader at a store. However, under Michigan law, a financial transaction device includes any electronic funds transfer card, credit card, debit card, point-of-sale card, and any other card, number or device that can be used to access a person’s financial account for the purposes of obtaining money, credit, goods, services or anything else of value.
Examples Of Credit Card Fraud
A number of actions can lead to credit card fraud charges in Michigan, including:
- Possessing or using someone else’s credit or debit card without permission
- Possessing or using someone else’s credit or debit card number and personal identification number (PIN) without permission
- Possessing or using another person’s gift card without permission
- Creating a false credit or debit card based on another person’s information
- Modifying a credit or debit card
- Selling, delivering or circulating another person’s debit or credit card without permission
The bottom line is that if you are found to have in your possession or to be using a credit or debit card you did not lawfully obtain from a credit card company, bank or other credit provider like a retail store, then you may be arrested and charged with fraud.
Potential Consequences Of A Fraud Conviction
For some credit card fraud crimes, the value of the money, property or services you acquire affects the charge and potential sentence. You may be charged with a misdemeanor if the amount stolen was less than $1,000. However, you may be charged with a felony if you allegedly stole more than $1,000. You may face the following criminal penalties if convicted:
- Incarceration – If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor, you may face up to 93 days in jail. Felony offenses can result in up to 10 years in prison.
- Fines – Misdemeanor convictions can result in fines of $500, with felony convictions resulting in fines of as much as $15,000 or three times the amount of funds stolen.
- Restitution – If you are convicted of credit card fraud, you will likely be ordered to pay restitution on top of your other punishments. Bear in mind that the court will not look at your actual ability to pay restitution. You may be ordered to pay what you stole, the victim’s legal fees and other costs associated with your crime.
Collateral Consequences Of A Credit Card Fraud Conviction
Fraud is a serious crime with consequences that reach beyond criminal penalties. Your reputation with friends and family will also be impacted, and you may find it difficult to maintain or obtain a job. It can also be hard to find affordable housing with a felony on your criminal record. If you have a professional license, you may lose that as well. Financial crimes can greatly impact the way that the world views you because people may no longer see you as trustworthy.
Defending Against Credit Card Fraud Accusations
At DeBruin Law, PLLC, we will review all of the potential defenses for your circumstances to determine the best defense strategy. This may include a mistaken identity defense, during which we will work to prove that you were not involved in the alleged crime. We may also argue that you had consent to use the debit or credit card or that you did not have any intent to defraud the owner or anyone else through your actions. We will evaluate your case and help prepare the best defense possible.
At DeBruin Law, PLLC, we will ensure you are prepared for every step of the legal process so that you do not experience any unnecessary hardships. Our goal will always be to mount the strongest defense possible and to reach the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at 517-731-0353 to schedule an initial consultation.