Los Angeles Credit Card Fraud Attorneys
"Credit card fraud" can cover a wide range of criminal charges, all of which carry serious penalties that can impact the rest of your life. If you are accused of using a credit card to purchase and transport goods across state lines, then federal charges may also apply.
If you or a loved one has been charged with any type of credit card fraud, you need an experienced, aggressive Los Angeles attorney to represent you and fight for your rights. Do not answer any questions from law enforcement without a lawyer present. Call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 and put us to work for you.
There are a few different ways a person can be charged with a crime related to a credit card. For example, someone who finds a credit card that another person threw away and keeps it, with the intent to buy something with it, can be charged with possession of a stolen credit card - even if he never used it. If that person actually uses the card, he can be charged with fraudulent use of a card, in addition to possession.
On the other hand, someone who finds an offer for a credit card in someone else’s name, fills out the offer, and receives a card in that person’s name could be charged with forging a credit card. Depending on the situation, additional charges of forgery can also be filed.
In this technological age, hacking is a common method for stealing credit card numbers. There are black markets online where stolen credit card numbers are sold to others for use. Even if you did not do the hacking yourself and merely bought a stolen number, that would still be considered credit card fraud, as well as even a cybercrime, both of which could result in serious penalties.
Like all forms of fraud, credit card fraud is an intent crime. This means the prosecution must show that you intended to commit credit card fraud in order to convict you. If the prosecution is successful, it will mean very harsh penalties for you.
The penalties for credit card fraud in California depend on the charges a person is facing and the details of the case. This means it is impossible to say what your sentence is likely to be up front. That will all depend on the exact details of your case, and what the prosecution chooses to pursue.
For example, possessing a credit card without the owner’s consent and purchasing something of greater value than $950 is often punished as grand theft in California, which is a wobbler. It can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, but the punishments for a felony conviction are more severe than those for a misdemeanor.
The lower penalties for credit card fraud would be:
- One year in county jail
- Fines of up to $1,000
However, harsher penalties, such as if you are punished as if you committed grand theft, are:
- Three years in county jail
- Fines of up to $10,000
Of course, that is only if it is a state crime. There are certain situations in which federal law enforcement becomes involved. This usually happens if the credit card or cards were used in dealing with the government, such as someone using a supposedly stolen or forged credit card to make a payment to a government agency. If a card is used to buy something that is transported across state lines, this can also result in federal charges, which can be much more serious than state charges. Penalties for a federal charge of credit card fraud can be as harsh as:
- 20 years in federal prison
- Severe fines
That is only if credit card fraud is the only crime you are being charged with. The prosecution may choose to make an example of you by charging you with as many related offenses as possible.
When you are arrested for a crime, prosecutors often try to charge you with other offenses related to the original crime, to give you the strictest possible penalty. If you have been charged with credit card fraud, it is very likely that you will be facing charges of additional crimes such as:
Identity theft: Identity theft is a fraud crime, which means it goes hand-in-hand with credit card fraud. Credit card numbers can be considered personal identifying information, which means using one that is not yours would be considered identity theft.
Unauthorized computer access: Credit card numbers are often stolen through access to computer data. Oftentimes credit cards are used for online purchases, and so many people have their credit card numbers saved on their personal computers. However, accessing a computer that is not yours without permission is considered a crime in California, and can lead to a harsher sentence.
Burglary: Obtaining a credit card to use that is not your own may have required some form of theft. Burglary commonly accompanies a charge of credit card fraud for exactly this reason. A charge of burglary can add several years to your sentence, as it is a considered a felony crime.
After being arrested for a crime as serious as credit card fraud, you may be at a loss on what to do. If convicted, you face years behind bars. Going into a trial with no clue as to how to defend yourself is a mistake that could haunt you for the rest of your life. That is why you should seek a skilled attorney who can put together defenses such as:
- You did not intend to commit fraud.
- You were unaware the credit card was not your own.
- The officers who arrested you committed misconduct.
- The evidence used against you was unlawfully obtained.
The most common defense for fraud crimes is the lack of intent defense. If there was no intent, then it was a mistake, not a crime, meaning that any penalties will be less severe or nonexistent. However, successfully arguing for a lack of intent will require knowledge of the criminal justice system. Not just any attorney will be able to get you the outcome you need.
No matter the details of your case, you need an experienced Los Angeles credit card fraud attorney to represent you. We at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have the expertise you need to get the outcome you want. A public defender simply cannot give you the aggressive kind of defense that we offer. Call a top defense lawyer with Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 to set up a free consultation as soon as possible.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.