Credit Card Fraud

The alleged misuse of a credit card or information associated with a credit card account can constitute a criminal offense in North Carolina. Depending on the nature of the specific allegations, credit card fraud crimes can be felony offenses.

In virtually all cases, a prosecutor must prove than an alleged offender knowingly used a credit card or related information in an unlawful manner. Several alleged offenders in these cases face criminal charges as the result of misunderstandings and using cards they thought were being legally utilized.

Attorney for Credit Card Fraud Arrests in Raleigh, NC

If you were arrested or believe that you might be under investigation for alleged credit card fraud in Wake County, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Coolidge Law Firm aggressively defends clients accused of white collar crimes in Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, and several surrounding areas of Wake County.

David Coolidge is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Raleigh who also represents students accused of these types of crimes at such local institutions of higher learning as North Carolina State University (NCSU), Shaw University, Duke University, and Meredith College. Call (919) 239-8448 today to have our attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.


Overview of Credit Card Fraud Crimes in North Carolina


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Credit Card Fraud Charges in Wake County

Alleged crimes involving credit card fraud are established under the Financial Transaction Card Crime Act in Article 19B of Chapter 14 of the North Carolina General Statutes. North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.8(4) defines a financial transaction card as “any instrument or device whether known as a credit card, credit plate, bank services card, banking card, check guarantee card, debit card, or by any other name, issued with or without fee by an issuer for the use of the cardholder” in obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value on credit, in certifying or guaranteeing to a person or business the availability to the cardholder of funds on deposit that are equal to or greater than the amount necessary to honor a draft or check payable to the order of such person or business, or in providing the cardholder access to a demand deposit account or time deposit account.

Credit card fraud is referred to as financial transaction card fraud under North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.13. An alleged offender commits this crime if that person, with intent to defraud the issuer, a person or organization providing money, goods, services or anything else of value, or any other person, either:

  • Uses for the purpose of obtaining money, goods, services or anything else of value a financial transaction card obtained or retained, or which was received with knowledge that it was obtained or retained, in violation of North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.9 or 14-113.11 or a financial transaction card which he knows is forged, altered, expired, revoked or was obtained as a result of a fraudulent application in violation of North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.13(c);
  • Obtains money, goods, services, or anything else of value by either representing without the consent of the cardholder that he or she is the holder of a specified card, presenting the financial transaction card without the authorization or permission of the cardholder, representing that he or she is the holder of a card and such card has not in fact been issued, or using a financial transaction card to knowingly and willfully exceed the actual balance of a demand deposit account or time deposit account or an authorized credit line in an amount which exceeds such authorized credit line in the amount of $500 or 50 percent of such authorized credit line, whichever is greater;
  • Obtains control over a financial transaction card as security for debt;
  • Deposits into his or her account or any account, by means of an automated banking device, a false, fictitious, forged, altered or counterfeit check, draft, money order, or any other such document not his lawful or legal property; or
  • Receives money, goods, services or anything else of value as a result of a false, fictitious, forged, altered, or counterfeit check, draft, money order or any other such document having been deposited into an account via an automated banking device, knowing at the time of receipt of the money, goods, services, or item of value that the document so deposited was false, fictitious, forged, altered or counterfeit or that the above deposited item was not his lawful or legal property.

An alleged offender who is authorized by an issuer to furnish money, goods, services or anything else of value upon presentation of a financial transaction card by the cardholder, or any agent or employee of such person can also be charged with financial transaction card fraud if, with intent to defraud the issuer or the cardholder, he or she furnishes money, goods, services or anything else of value upon presentation of a financial transaction card obtained or retained in violation of North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.9, or a financial transaction card which he or she knows is forged, expired or revoked, or fails to furnish money, goods, services or anything else of value which he or she represents in writing to the issuer that he has furnished.

If the value of all money, goods, services, and other things of value furnished in violation of this section, or if the difference between the value actually furnished and the value represented to the issuer to have been furnished in violation of this section, does not exceed $500 in any six-month period, the alleged offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If the value is more than $500, the alleged offense is a Class I felony.

An alleged offender may also be charged with the following crimes under this article of the North Carolina General Statutes:

  • Financial transaction card theft — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.9, it is a Class I felony if an alleged offender takes, obtains or withholds a financial transaction card from the person, possession, custody or control of another without the cardholder’s consent and with the intent to use it, or with knowledge that it has been so taken, obtained or withheld, receives the financial transaction card with intent to use it or to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder; receives a financial transaction card that he or she knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the identity or address of the cardholder, and retains possession with intent to use it or to sell it or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder; not being the issuer, sells a financial transaction card or buys a financial transaction card from a person other than the issuer; not being the issuer, during any 12-month period, receives financial transaction cards issued in the names of two or more persons which he or she has reason to know were taken or retained under circumstances which constitute a violation of the North Carolina General Statutes; or, with the intent to defraud any person, either uses a scanning device to access, read, obtain, memorize, or store, temporarily or permanently, information encoded on another person’s financial transaction card, or receives the encoded information from another person’s financial transaction card;
  • Forgery of financial transaction card — North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.11 makes it a Class I felony if an alleged offender falsely makes, draws, embosses, encodes, duplicates, alters, records, or signs a financial transaction card or utters such a financial transaction card;
  • Criminal possession of financial transaction card forgery devices — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.14, it is a Class I felony if the alleged offender is a person other than the cardholder and possesses two or more incomplete financial transaction cards, with intent to complete them without the consent of the issuer, or possesses, with knowledge of its character, machinery, plates, or any other contrivance designed to reproduce instruments purporting to be financial transaction cards of an issuer who has not consented to the preparation of such financial transaction cards;
  • Criminal receipt of goods and services fraudulently obtained — North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.15 makes it a Class I felony if an alleged offender receives money, goods, services or anything else of value obtained in violation of North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.13(a) with the knowledge or belief that the same were obtained in violation of North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.13(a). If the value of all money, goods, services, and other things of value furnished in violation of this section, or if the difference between the value actually furnished and the value represented to the issuer to have been furnished in violation of this section, does not exceed $500 in any six-month period, the alleged offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If the value is more than $500, the alleged offense is a Class I felony; and
  • Criminal factoring of financial transaction card records — Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-113.14, it is a Class I felony if the alleged offender, without the acquirer’s express authorization, employs or solicits an authorized merchant, or any agent or employee of such merchant, to remit to an issuer or acquirer, for payment, a financial transaction card record of a sale, which sale was not made by such merchant, his agent or employee.

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Credit Card Fraud Penalties in Raleigh

Criminal convictions in North Carolina can result in one of three kinds of punishments: An active punishment requires incarceration in a state prison or jail, an intermediate punishment requires a sentence of supervised probation and might include other possible conditions, and a community punishment is any sentence other than an active punishment.

Under North Carolina’s “structured sentencing” method of punishing criminals, an alleged offender’s prior criminal record can impact the length and type of sentence that is imposed. For a Class 2 misdemeanor credit card fraud offense, the alleged offender is either be classified as a Prior Conviction Level I (no prior convictions), Prior Conviction Level II (one to four prior convictions), or Prior Conviction Level III (five or more prior convictions).

Class 2 misdemeanor convictions can be punishable as follows:

  • Prior Conviction Level I — Community punishment of up to 30 days;
  • Prior Conviction Level II — Community or intermediate punishment of up to 45 days; or
  • Prior Conviction Level III — Community, intermediate, or active punishment of up to 60 days.

If the alleged offender is facing felony charges, then that person is classified under one of six different prior record levels depending on the number of points assigned based on prior convictions. Punishment ranges for felony offenses also include three different ranges: a mitigated range if the case has mitigating factors, an aggravated range if the case has aggravating factors, or a presumptive range if the case has an equal amount of or no mitigating factors and aggravating factors. All felony convictions also carry a mandatory nine-month period of post-supervision release.

All of the credit card fraud crimes listed above as Class I felony offenses, and convictions may be punishable as follows:

 

Prior Record Level I
(0-1 point)

Prior Record Level II
(2-5 points)

Prior Record Level III
(6-9 points)

Prior Record Level IV
(10-13 points)

Prior Record Level V
(14-17 points)

Prior Record Level VI
(18+ points)

Class I

Community

Community or Intermediate

Intermediate

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Aggravated

6-8 months

6-8 months

6-8 months

8-10 months

9-11 months

10-12 months

Presumptive

4-6 months

4-6 months

5-6 months

6-8 months

7-9 months

8-10 months

Mitigated

3-4 months

3-4 months

4-5 months

4-6 months

5-7 months

6-8 months


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North Carolina Resources for Credit Card Fraud Offenses

Credit Card Fraud | North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ) — The four primary functions of the NCDOJ are to provide legal representation to state agencies, assist local law enforcement in fighting crime and prosecuting cases, provide training and standards for law enforcement, and protect North Carolina consumers. On this section of the NCDOJ website, you can find assorted tips to help prevent yourself from being a victim or credit card fraud. You can also find information about credit repair scams, credit card disputes, and lost or stolen cards.

North Carolina Department of Justice
114 W. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 716-6400

North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) | Credit Card Fraud — The overall mission of the NC DPS is “to improve the quality of life for North Carolinians by reducing crime and enhancing public safety.” Visit this section of the NC DPS to learn more about steps to take to reduce the chances of you becoming a victim or credit card fraud. You can also find additional information about related business crimes.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety
512 North Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 733-2126


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The Coolidge Law Firm | Raleigh Credit Card Fraud Defense Lawyer

Do you think that you could be under investigation or were you already arrested in the Research Triangle for allegedly committing financial transaction card fraud? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. The Coolidge Law Firm represents individuals all over Wake County, including in Morrisville, Raleigh, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, Zebulon, and many other nearby communities.

Raleigh criminal defense attorney David Coolidge also helps students at such local colleges as North Carolina State University (NCSU), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), and William Peace University. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (919) 239-8448 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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