Using someone else’s credit card, stealing a credit card, and credit fraud are all serious crimes in New Jersey. In some cases, the offense will be charged as theft, but the penalties might be increased if the item stolen is a credit card. You may also face fraud or forgery charges for some credit card offenses. This could mean facing multiple criminal charges for one event, potentially resulting in years behind bars.
For help with your case, contact the Atlantic City credit card violation lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our attorneys represent those accused of credit card fraud, credit card theft, access device crimes, or other offenses. To set up a free consultation on your case and to find out what our criminal defense attorneys can do to help get your charges dropped and dismissed, call our law offices today at (609) 625-3006.
Types of Charges for Credit Card Crimes in NJ
In New Jersey, there are multiple offenses that involve credit card theft and fraud. A credit card qualifies as an “access device,” since it is a card with numbers or codes used to make electronic transactions. There are multiple crimes that deal specifically with taking or misusing an access device, whereas other credit card violations might qualify as simple theft. The following charges might apply to cases where a credit card is misused or used to commit fraud:
Credit Card Theft
Stealing someone else’s credit card is a fourth degree crime. This includes specifically taking a credit card from someone else, stealing a wallet or purse with a credit card in it, keeping a lost card, buying or selling a card, or creating a fake card, among other offenses. To be convicted of this crime, the government usually must prove that you intended to take the card from someone else. However, if you have at least 2 stolen credit cards or at least 2 cards in other peoples’ names, the law automatically presumes you committed this crime. There are few justifiable reasons to have so many cards belonging to others, but these charges can be overcome if you legitimately possessed those cards.
This crime also applies to any situation where you get something of value by presenting the credit card. Many store orders involve paying ahead of time, then simply presenting the card when you arrive in the store. Doing this would also qualify as credit card theft.
Credit Card Fraud
NJ’s credit card fraud statute is a subsection of the credit card theft law but is often seen as a separate crime. This crime involves using a card to get money or pay for something by using a fake or stolen credit card, or a card that has been tampered with. Essentially, any time you falsely hold a card out to be a valid credit card that you own, you can be charged with credit card fraud. There are many situations where this crime could be committed by accident, especially if your card is corrupted or someone else tampered with it.
Theft by Deception
If you receive something of value or make an ATM withdrawal using a fake or stolen credit card or debit card, you may be committing another theft offense by getting something of value without a valid credit card. The act of holding out a credit card as either a valid card or your own card when it is, in fact, counterfeit or stolen is an act of deception that can lead to theft charges. Any time you lie to steal money, goods, or services, you could be convicted of theft by deception.
Creating or using a falsified credit card can constitute a forgery crime in New Jersey. Typically, forgery involves creating or using a fake document or writing. Under the NJ forgery statute’s definitions, an access device like a credit card qualifies as a “writing” that can be forged. That means that creating a false credit card using skimmed numbers, falsifying the name on a card, or even signing a forged signature could be considered a crime under the forgery statute.
Federal Credit Card Offenses
Some credit card fraud rings and other credit theft cases cross state lines or involve sufficient disruption to interstate commerce to become federal offenses. These federal crimes are often investigated by the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. Federal offenses often have a higher level of sophistication and seriousness, which means they are tried in court by some of the most serious federal prosecutors before federal judges appointed by the president. Our attorneys also help people fight federal criminal cases in New Jersey.
Our Atlantic City Credit Card Fraud and Credit Card Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was charged with a credit card offense involving theft, forgery, or fraud, call The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our Atlantic City credit card offense lawyers represent the accused and help them fight the charges against them. To schedule a free consultation on your case and for more information about the penalties and potential jail time, contact our law offices today. Our number is (609) 625-3006.