WHAT IS CREDIT CARD FRAUD?

Credit Card Fraud is a white collar crime broadly defined as theft by fraud using a credit card, payment card or debit card as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The Texas Penal Code defines credit card fraud.

 

Texas Penal Code 32.31

CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD ABUSE.

(a) A person commits a criminal offense if:

  • with intent to obtain a benefit fraudulently, he presents or uses a credit card or debit card with knowledge that:
    • the card, whether or not expired, has not been issued to him and is not used with the effective consent of the cardholder; or
    • the card has expired or has been revoked or cancelled;
    • This is an unordered list.
  • with intent to obtain a benefit, he uses a fictitious credit card or debit card or the pretended number or description of a fictitious card;
  • he receives a benefit that he knows has been obtained in violation of this section;
  • he steals a credit card or debit card or, with knowledge that it has been stolen, receives a credit card or debit card with intent to use it, to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder;
  • he buys a credit card or debit card from a person who he knows is not the issuer;
  • not being the issuer, he sells a credit card or debit card;
  • he uses or induces the cardholder to use the cardholder's credit card or debit card to obtain property or service for the actor's benefit for which the cardholder is financially unable to pay;
  • not being the cardholder, and without the effective consent of the cardholder, he possesses a credit card or debit card with intent to use it;
  • he possesses two or more incomplete credit cards or debit cards that have not been issued to him with intent to complete them without the effective consent of the issuer. For purposes of this subdivision, a card is incomplete if part of the matter that an issuer requires to appear on the card before it can be used, other than the signature of the cardholder, has not yet been stamped, embossed, imprinted, or written on it;
  • being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, he, with intent to defraud the issuer or the cardholder, furnishes goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card obtained or retained in violation of this section or a credit card or debit card that is forged, expired, or revoked; or
  • being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, he, with intent to defraud the issuer or a cardholder, fails to furnish goods or services that he represents in writing to the issuer that he has furnished.

(b) It is presumed that a person who used a revoked, cancelled, or expired credit card or debit card had knowledge that the card had been revoked, cancelled, or expired if he had received notice of revocation, cancellation, or expiration from the issuer. For purposes of this section, notice may be either notice given orally in person or by telephone, or in writing by mail or by telegram. If written notice was sent by registered or certified mail with return receipt requested, or by telegram with report of delivery requested, addressed to the cardholder at the last address shown by the records of the issuer, it is presumed that the notice was received by the cardholder no later than five days after sent.

(c) An offense under this section is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the offense was committed against an elderly individual.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR CREDIT CARD THEFT IN TEXAS?

These crimes are classified as a state jail felony, or a third degree felony in some cases. This means if you are convicted you will be facing 6 months to 2 years in a Texas state jail, or if convicted of credit card fraud against an elderly person, 2 to 10 years in state prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000 in either case.

WHAT DEFENSE CAN A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY PROVIDE?

As credit card theft continues to increase, the laws against this offense are undergoing change. Your best solution to a credit card or identify theft charge is to contact an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney. Various defenses can be used in your favor, such as; lack of intent, mistaken usage, using a card under duress, lack of knowledge, you were under age at the time of the offense, or others depending on your particular situation. If you are facing a credit card theft or abuse charge, contact Steve Hesse Attorney-at-Law. He will provide a free consultation to review your individual circumstances. 512-930-2120.