The term “Fraud Crimes” refers to a wide variety of criminal activity, all of which involve some type of fraud. This could refer to credit card fraud, health insurance fraud, check fraud, retail fraud and insurance fraud, to name but a few. Because the crimes themselves are varied, and the details change depending on the type of fraud involved, we have decided that it would be helpful to unpack the subject of criminal fraud in Michigan, so that it may be easier to understand.
In this series we will pick some of the more common forms of fraud, and explain their legal definitions, along with information about how each one is punished after conviction. Let’s begin with a very common type of fraud that’s actually a daily occurrence here in Michigan… credit card fraud.
What is credit card fraud?
The term “credit card fraud,” in and of itself, refers to a wide variety of theft and fraud crimes using or involving a payment card. This could mean either a credit card or a debit card, used as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose would be to purchase goods or services that one couldn’t otherwise afford to pay for, or to acquire money from an unauthorized account.
This could mean either that the credit card was stolen, the credit card information was stolen (in order to be used instead of the card), or the card was cancelled or revoked. It could also mean using another person’s credit card without their permission.
How do you get charged with credit card fraud?
If a law enforcement believes that you are using, or in possession of, a stolen or cancelled credit card, you are likely to be charged with credit card fraud. However, in order to prove that you are guilty of this crime, the prosecutor will have to prove certain specific things at the trial. These things are:
- The credit or debit card was canceled or revoked
- The card was issued to an individual, and later canceled or revoked by the issuer
- The defendant received notice of the cancellation or revocation
- After receiving notice, the defendant used the device at a business to obtain goods, services, property, etc
- The defendant knew the card was cancelled when they used it
- At the time of use, the defendant intended to cheat or defraud someone else
What is the punishment for credit card fraud?
The penalties for credit card fraud vary, based on the value of the items or services purchased, and also on whether or not the defendant has any prior criminal history. For example, if the value of the services, goods or property is less than $100.00, then the penalties would be:
First offense: this penalty would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a fine up to $500.00, or both. However, if the person has one or more prior convictions for the same crime, they could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine up to $1,000.00, or both.
If the value of the property, goods, or services is between $100.00 and $500.00, a first or second offense would be a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 1 year in jail, a fine up to $1,000.00, or 3 times the value of the goods or services, (whichever is greater) or both.
What do I do if I’m charged with credit card fraud?
Simple: Call us immediately! Don’t wait, and hope the case will “blow over.” Don’t talk to police, or employers about the accusations. Don’t talk to anybody. Don’t postpone dealing with the issue. Credit card fraud is serious, and Michigan authorities will pursue charges if they think they have even the smallest chance of getting a conviction. Now is the time for action!
Join us next time for the next installment, when we will be breaking down Embezzlement. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of credit card fraud in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys have spent decades defending the people of Michigan against credit card fraud accusations and achieving positive outcomes. We can help you too!