Free Consultations For Deibt Card & Credit Card Abuse
Credit and debit card abuse is a serious crime in Texas and is considered a form of fraud. Fraud crimes usually involve a form of deceit.
In credit or debit card abuse crimes, an individual takes another person’s financial information and/or account details, without the other person’s consent, with the intent of removing cash from the account or making unauthorized transactions.
Under Texas Penal Code Section 32.31, this type of crime involves the use of a credit card or debit card that an individual:
- Realizes is not his or her own credit or debit card and uses it without consent of the rightful owner;
- Knows that the card they are using is either expired, canceled, or revoked;
- Knows the card is fictitious, meaning the user presents a fictitious card or account number in order to obtain or receive goods or services;
- Steals the card with the intent to sell or use the card;
- Steals the account number of another person;
- Uses a stolen or illegally-obtained credit card or debit card to receive goods or services;
- Buys from another party, knowing the property was obtained with a stolen debit or credit card;
- Sells to another party;
- Induces or otherwise coerces the cardholder into buying products and services, even though the cardholder cannot pay for them; or
- Merely possesses a debit or credit card that does not belong to them and intends to use it.
Credit card abuse or fraud is frequently entwined with other crimes:
- Identity theft: when an individual’s personal identifying information (birth date, residence address, phone number, Social Security number, etc.) are used in order to fraudulently obtain access to financial accounts or otherwise facilitate the commission of other crimes. Sometimes, an individual accused of credit card abuse or fraud may also be charged with identity theft.
- Credit fraud: when one person uses another person’s Social Security number (or fictitious Social Security number) and other personal identifying information to apply for or otherwise obtain a credit card, debit card, loan, goods or other property. This crime may also occur when an individual provides fictitious personal identifying information or provides false information about his or her earnings, repayment ability, and/or financial obligations.
- Check forgery: when an individual steals unsigned checks for the purposes of fraud.
Under Texas law, it is not necessary for the accused to actually use a stolen debit or credit card in order to face fraud charges. Possession and intent to use the debit or credit card is enough for an individual to be charged with the crime. For example, if an individual steals a credit card or debit card and the prosecution proves that the individual intended to use it, a conviction could be possible.
Further, an individual does not need to possess the physical credit card or debit card to be arrested and/or charged with credit card abuse and/or one of the earlier mentioned crimes. Simply typing another person’s financial account information or credit card number into a website page to complete an online purchase could lead to criminal charges and a conviction if the account holder did not authorize you to do so.
Credit card abuse is a serious crime. A credit card abuse crime is punishable as a felony, or as a third-degree felony if the offender commits credit card abuse against an elderly individual:
- If convicted of a felony, the offender faces a prison sentence of six (6) months to two (2) years in a Texas State prison and fines of up to $10,000.00.
- If convicted of a third-degree felony, the offender faces a prison sentence of two (2) to ten (10) years in a Texas state prison and fines of up to $10,000.00.
Many times, the cardholder reports the theft of the credit card or financial information. There are, however, other means used by law enforcement agencies to investigate credit card abuse. Additional investigative techniques include:
- A retailer reports suspicious activity;
- Law enforcement or credit card issuers trace the unauthorized purchases made online or in person; or
- The fraudulent credit card or debit card user is caught in a sting operation.
If you have been charged with credit card abuse or another fraud crime, it is very important to have quality representation. A credit card abuse or related fraud conviction can negatively affect your future. In addition to a prison sentence and/or financial penalty, you may be denied certain jobs in the financial or retail industries. The Peugh Law Firm is here to help you and provide you with the advice and resources you need.