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Four Sentenced for Role in Credit Card Fraud Conspiracy

Four Miami-Dade residents were sentenced for their involvement in a credit card fraud scam that involved almost 175 fraudulent credit cards. The four defendants were each sentenced to a term of imprisonment ranging from 36 months to 48 months. The charges against the four alleged that they used a “skimming” device at gas stations in order to obtain the credit card information from numerous Palm Beach County residents. The defendants would then create fictitious credit cards using the information they had stolen and would imprint either their own names or the names of aliases on the cards. The cards would then be used to make fraudulent purchases of gift cards from Palm Beach County residents.

Credit Card Fraud in the United States

This group of defendants engaged in credit card fraud using a device known as a “skimmer,” but the use of technology is not required in order for a person to be found guilty of a credit card-related theft offense. In fact, credit card fraud is simply a theft-related offense that involves the unauthorized use of a credit card. The credit card does not even need to be fictitious: using another person’s credit card without his or her permission can subject a person to criminal liability. Credit card fraud also occurs when:

  • You use another’s credit card to make an unauthorized purchase from a merchant;
  • You use another’s credit card to obtain an unauthorized cash advance; or
  • You use another’s credit card to transfer money to another person without the card owner’s authorization.

Credit card fraud is an increasing problem along with identity theft; as a result, federal and state prosecutors and law enforcement agencies tend to be pursuing convictions for fraud, theft, identity theft and other related charges more aggressively.

Did You Have Authorization?

The key to a conviction for a credit card-related theft or fraud offense is using another person’s credit information or credit card without that person’s authority. Using the three bulleted examples listed above, none of these activities would be fraudulent if the card owner had given you permission to make the transaction. Nor would any of these activities constitute fraud or theft if you were an authorized user on the other person’s credit account. While showing that you are an authorized user on an account is relatively simple, showing that you had authorization may not be as simple. If the card holder only gave you verbal authorization, the success of your defense can come down to who the jury believes – you or the card holder. It is best if such authorization is made in writing, in an e-mail, in a text, or through a voicemail.

Contact an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

When you are charged with a credit card-related crime or any theft or fraud crime, your freedom depends on the success of your defense. Miami criminal defense attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner has defended clients accused of serious theft-related crimes. He knows that a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your charges is necessary to present the best defense possible for you. Contact his office if you are facing theft- or fraud-related charges by calling (305) 670-9919.

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