fraud charges on credit cards

Criminal charges for credit card fraud are not to be taken lightly. The penalties can be severe, especially if you’ve tried in a federal court. Prosecutors go all out to get the highest sentences possible to stamp out white-collar crime, with a particular focus on fraud, especially fraud charges on credit cards.

The Seriousness of Credit Card Fraud Charges

Credit card fraud is one of the most common types of fraud. It costs the US several billions of dollars every year, not to mention the personal financial losses suffered by the victims.

It can be tried as a state or federal crime, depending on the elements of the case. Federal credit card fraud is more serious than state credit card fraud cases. It becomes a federal crime when the fraudulent activity crosses state borders or goes international. This is most common in fraudulent transactions online.

For example, you live in California and use the stolen card to order a dog harness online from a supplier in South Carolina. The crime crossed state borders and becomes a federal case. The principle applies if the harness came from Germany.

The penalties for federal credit card fraud are also higher than those for state fraud; for example, if found guilty of federal fraud the potential sentence is up to 15 years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000. State penalties can include time in county jail and fines of up to $10,000

Understanding Credit Card Fraud Charges and Penalties

Credit card fraud crime has different criteria and penalties in different states. For example, credit card fraud in Florida is a First Degree Misdemeanor when the value is lower than $100. The penalties are a fine of up to $1000 and up to a year in county jail.

If the value is over $100, it becomes a Third Degree Felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $5000 and up to five years in state prison.

On the other hand, Illinois has specific penalties for specific credit card fraud-related crimes. For example, making a false statement to get a credit or debit card is a Class 4 Felony. If found guilty, you face one – three years in prison (doubled for an extended term) and a fine of up to $25,000.

Illinois has three penalty categories:

  1. Class A Misdemeanor with jail time of up to one year and a fine of up to $2500
  2. Class 4 Felony as seen above
  3. Class 3 Felony with two-three years in prison (up to 10 years with an extended term) and a fine of up to $25,000

Proving Your Innocence: How a Fraud Defense Lawyer Can Help

There are innumerable reasons to hire a credit card fraud defense attorney to defend you against allegations of credit card fraudulent charges. Given the seriousness of the charges and potential penalties, you want a defense lawyer who has plenty of experience – and success – in fraud cases.

There are many ways in which your attorney can help you fight accusations of credit card fraud. 

Knowledge of the Legal System

The legal system is a labyrinth for people who are outside looking in. Someone in the system, however, knows how to work juries, manage judges, treat witnesses, pick relevant evidence, and use the letter of the law to their advantage.

You want someone like this on your team when facing fraudulent credit card charges.

Understands the Credit Card Laws

It helps to have an attorney who knows credit card laws inside out, especially when it comes to fraudulent behavior. A specialist fraud defense attorney has knowledge and understanding gained from years of experience.

Builds a Strong Defense

A skilled attorney listens to your side of the story and considers the evidence to construct a compelling defense that throws doubt over your alleged role in the crime.

Negotiation with Prosecutors and Credit Card Companies

Your defense attorney should have excellent negotiation skills to get the charges dropped, or, failing that, negotiate favorable plea bargain terms with the lightest sentence possible, including low restitution payments to credit card companies and other victims of your alleged crime.

Experience in Court Procedures

Arguing a case in a criminal court is different from defending an accused against civil action. Ideally, you want an attorney who can do both and do them well. 

Protects Your Reputation

When you’re accused of a crime like credit card or bank fraud, your reputation takes a knock. You may be innocent but allegations can tarnish your professional reputation, making it difficult to find employment.

Your attorney doesn’t just defend you against fraud charges on credit cards but also works to keep the process as low-key as possible while touting your innocence where needed.

Access to Resources and Expert Witnesses

Attorneys at reputable law firms have access to resources to support your case, including expert witnesses who testify in your favor.

What are the Common Defenses Used in Fraud Charges on Credit Cards?

Lack of intent is the best defense because it plays a role in most other defense arguments. For example, if you were coerced to commit fraud charges on credit cards by someone who threatened your mother, you clearly lacked the intent to defraud.

Other defenses include:

Lack of Knowledge

Lack of information or ignorance can be used as a defense against credit card fraud. For example, you accidentally pick up your brother’s credit card instead of yours and go shoe shopping.

With tap-and-go payment, you only realized your mistake when you got home. You had no idea you were using someone else’s card, which means you also lacked intent and can’t be guilty of fraud charges on credit cards.

Lack of Intent

The crux of fraud charges on credit card is intent. You must have acted with the intent to defraud a person or business to your benefit.

Lack of intent, for example, applies when you borrowed your brother’s credit card to pay an installment on your car loan. Even though your brother is furious, you still didn’t intend to commit fraud.

The other essential element is that it must benefit you. For example, perhaps you thought you were authorized to use the business credit card, so you bought tea, coffee, sugar, and toilet paper for the office.

Even if you weren’t authorized to use the card, the purchase was to the benefit of all employees and doesn’t constitute fraud.

Mistaken Identity

Most types of credit card fraud include identity theft. Once fraudsters have access to your bank account, they can freely spend your money. Their sending can be extravagant, like buying a yacht, or illegal, like buying a shipment of weapons.

Either way, you’re held liable until you can prove that you didn’t make those or any other fraudulent transactions.

Even if your name is cleared, you could still be a victim of identity fraud by way of your credit score. The major spending and the unpaid accounts will be reflected in your credit score, which can take a while to be restored.

Let LibertyBell Law Group’s Fraud Defense Lawyer Represent Your Case

LibertyBell Law Group’s fraud defense lawyers embody the traits you’d expect from expert litigators who have the experience to build strong defense strategies no matter the circumstances.

You can rest assured that whatever fraud charges on a credit card you’re facing your attorney is hard at work with an experienced team to build an inviolate case. To arrange a free consultation, fill out our online form or call us at 877-545-3127 at LibertyBell Law Group today!

Best Civil Attorneys - Gina Tennen

Gina Tennen


At A Glance

  • Expert legal strategist.
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  • Received the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers Award
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Executive Managing Attorney Gina Tennen is a renowned leading advocate of personal liberties. Her meticulous trial preparation and exceptional ability to pursue every possible defense has earned her the admiration of clients and respect from prosecutors, judges, and other criminal attorneys all over the nation.

Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.

A consummate strategist and top criminal attorney, lawyer Tennen works tirelessly on many high profile criminal cases. She is known as a relentless fighter who never gives up on any case. Whether the case is hers or handled by another criminal defense attorney from LibertyBell Law Group, no matter how small the case may seem she asserts that every client deserves the right to the best legal representation.

It is her deep belief and what she has built her entire career and lifelong dedication to that there is always hope for every client and every avenue should be pursued regardless of the time and energy it takes. For criminal attorney, Gina Tennen, devoting the finest criminal defense for clients is a habit and talent that you must apply and do all the time.

You demand the best defense. Take hold of your life and speak to our defense attorneys by calling 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) now.

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I hired Gina and her team for my son who was facing 10 years for something they said he did when he was 17 years old. Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub. She did not stop. She fought hard and was able to defend the charges. We are so grateful to her and her team. They gave us our son. He recovered his life!

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I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.

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When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at LibertyBell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.

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