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Credit card fraud is a growing problem in the United States. As a result, prosecutors are becoming increasingly vigilant about pursuing convictions. If you or a loved one in Montgomery County has been accused of this crime, you should contact a lawyer immediately.
Credit card fraud is defined as any time a person uses a credit card in a dishonest or fraudulent manner. The following circumstances qualify in the state of Pennsylvania:
You do not even have to use a fraudulent credit card in order to be charged. Even having such a card is defined as fraud. In addition, the prosecutors have to show that you did this knowingly. If you have two or more fraudulent cards, this is seen as evidence of being aware. However, intent can be very difficult to prove otherwise.
The penalties for credit card fraud in Pennsylvania are particularly high. The exact punishment depends on the extent of the fraud and the circumstances in which it was committed.
If the amount of fraud comes to less than $50, the crime is a second-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, this crime carries a prison sentence of up to two years. If the fraud was between $50 and $500, the offense is a first-degree felony carrying a sentence of up to five years.
When the amount of fraud exceeds $500, the offense becomes a third-degree felony. This carries prison time of up to seven years.
Each time a card is used, that is a separate charge. In addition, there is one charge for each card that the accused had. If a person has two fraudulent credit cards, for example, they will be charged with two crimes and given two separate prison sentences. Thus, even minor fraud can lead to decades in prison if convicted.
In addition to prison time, there can be other consequences. You may have to pay fines and spend time on probation. A conviction of fraud also can have other consequences. People often struggle to find a job and to complete basic banking tasks when this comes up in a background check. This is particularly true if you work in any field where you handle money.
When you are accused of a serious crime, you need help. Our Montgomery County credit card fraud lawyers are here to help you get the best possible outcome. We will work tirelessly to prove your innocence and argue for minimal consequences.
There are several strategies that we have used successfully to defend people like you. We can argue that you were not aware of the fraudulent nature of the cards. We can provide evidence that you used them in good faith. These are especially powerful arguments when the accused has otherwise been responsible and made good financial decisions.
In addition, we will ensure that the government did not violate your rights while collecting and processing evidence. Even small infractions can lead to evidence being inadmissible in courts. We will ensure that your rights as a citizen are preserved and that you are treated as innocent until proven guilty.
Our lawyers can help defend people against charges of credit card fraud. To find out we can help you, contact our offices today for a free consultation.