Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami Representing the Rights of People Accused of Credit and Debit Card Fraud
Fraud statutes across the country have become outdated in today’s digital era. Many of these laws were written in a time when fraud was limited to in-person representations by a dishonest person. Now, in the digital age, it is possible to fraudulently procure millions of dollars without ever leaving one’s computer. Credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards have all become popular sources of fraud. If you are facing fraud charges, it is important to be represented by a criminal attorney in Miami who understands how fraud charges work. Old statutes are being applied to new crimes. Old statutes are also being rewritten, and this, too, changes the way in which a fraud charge must be defended.
The experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys at Stroleny Law, P.A. have experience defending many types of fraud cases. We can help protect you from unconstitutional interrogations, searches of your home or computer, and other improper actions taken during a law enforcement investigation. They can fight to dismiss charges that are not supported by the evidence or fight to exclude evidence that was unlawfully obtained. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you are protected by an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more secure your legal rights will be.
What is Credit Card Fraud?
Section 817.61 of the Florida Statutes prohibits the fraudulent use of credit cards. The Section covers a wide range of activity related to the misuse of credit cards, including obtaining or retaining a credit card that one knows is stolen, misrepresenting that a credit card has been issued, or misrepresenting that the cardholder has consented to the use of the credit card. These and other activities are prohibited where the defendant intends to obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value through the fraudulent use of a credit card. Section 817.67 of the statutes classifies these crimes based upon the value of the money, good, or services that were obtained. If this value is less than $100, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor. If the value is $100 or more, the crime is a third-degree felony. More significant amounts are often charged under other theft and fraud statutes that allow for higher felony classifications and more severe sentences.
What About Debit Cards and Gift Cards?
Credit cards are no longer the only electronic means of transferring money. Debit cards have become highly popular due to the security and convenience they offer. Many people find a debit card preferable to carrying cash. This also creates another method of conducting electronic fraud. The Florida Legislature has recognized this by incorporating debit card fraud and theft into the Florida Statutes. Section 817.60 specifically prohibits the possession of a stolen debit card. It also prohibits many other types of theft by debit card, including theft by stolen debit card, theft by debit card that is lost or delivered by mistake, purchasing the debit card of another, or dealing in debit cards of another. These and other theft statutes apply to theft procured by debit card as well as theft produced in any other manner.
Lately, gift cards have also become a popular source of fraud. They are more anonymous than credit or debit cards. It is much more difficult to track a gift card to any particular person, and for this reason, they are a popular source of fraud. Many internet scams involve asking for gift cards. Some claim that you have an immediate bill due, and it can only be paid by means of a gift card. The phony debt could be allegedly due to the IRS for taxes, or to a utility provider for an electric bill, or to a mobile service provider for a cell phone bill. The common theme is the unusual request to pay the debt by means of an anonymous gift card. No legitimate creditor would request payments in this form.
Electronic payments made by credit card, debit card, or gift card often cross state lines. A payment made in Florida could go to a processing center anywhere else in the country, or even overseas. Because of this, federal law enforcement agencies have jurisdiction over electronic fraud, and federal charges can be filed against a person who commits electronic fraud. Congress also has jurisdiction over both interstate and international commerce through the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. This, too, allows for federal jurisdiction over electronic fraud that impairs these functions.
15 U.S.C. §1644 provides federal penalties for the fraudulent use of credit cards in interstate or foreign commerce. Like the state statute, this Code section prohibits a wide variety of activities. These include the use, attempt, or conspiracy to use a credit card that is counterfeit, fictitious, altered, forged, lost, stolen, or fraudulently obtained. The Section also prohibits the sale or transport of a fraudulent credit card, as well as the receipt or concealment of goods obtained by the fraudulent use of a credit card. Like the state statute, the federal law also prohibits furnishing money, property, services, or anything else of value through the fraudulent use of a credit card.
Though the conditions of credit card fraud are nearly identical under state and federal law, these cases must be handled very differently. Federal cases are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and prosecuted by federal prosecutors. They are sentenced by federal judges who must follow federal law, and defendants convicted of federal crimes serve any prison time in federal prison. All of these factors require a criminal lawyer to handle a federal case differently than a state case. It is important for defendants facing federal charges to be represented by an attorney who is experienced in handling federal cases.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Miami Credit & Debit Card Defense Attorney
As electronic fraud develops in many forms, it is important for defendants to be represented by a criminal defense attorney who thoroughly understands the nuances of criminal charges of fraud. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Stroleny Law, P.A. can help protect your constitutional rights at all stages of a criminal investigation, criminal case, sentencing, or appellate procedures. We can help fight to dismiss charges that are not supported by the evidence or fight to exclude evidence from trial if it was seized illegally. Call (305) 615-1285 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
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