Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is the simplest and most common form of identity theft. In today’s technological world, credit card fraud has become increasingly prevalent due to its simplicity to commit. The Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2009 seventeen percent of all reported identity theft were instances of credit card fraud. The crime may be accomplished through someone physically obtaining a credit card, or the compromise of data associated with the account, including the card account number or other information that would be available to a merchant during a legitimate transaction. If the right identification information is obtained, credit card fraud may occur by a person applying for a credit card in your name and making purchases using the card. In cases such as this, a person may not even be aware that they are the victim of credit card fraud until months later after the account becomes past due and the credit card company contacts you seeking payment. An increasingly more common theft offense is ATM skimming in which sophisticated equipment is used to capture bank account and pin information when bank ATMs are accessed. The information is then transferred onto forged bank debit cards and funds are stolen from accounts. Credit card fraud and ATM skimming are investigated very thoroughly by both State and Federal agencies, depending on the size and scope of the crime. Mostly, state and local authorities handle the investigation, but the U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversee and provide legal support for monetary and personal fraud investigations. Generally, the FTC usually only investigates cases involving $2,000 or more. If you have been investigated for or charged with credit card fraud, it is essential that you seek the legal counsel of an experienced Boston, Massachusetts credit card fraud attorney before proceeding in any way. Only an attorney with specialized knowledge in the field of credit card fraud and identity theft will be able to properly assist you when facing charges of this nature.

In Massachusetts, the crime of credit card fraud falls under the law governing identity theft. MGL c.266, s. 37E provides that anyone with the intent to defraud who poses as another person without their permission and uses that person’s identifying information to obtain or attempt to obtain money, credit, goods, services, anything of value, any identification card, or harass another shall be guilty of the crime of identity fraud and shall be punishable under this section. Also, anyone with the intent to defraud who obtains personal identifying information about a person without that person’s permission in order to assist another to pose as that person in order to obtain credit, goods, money, services, anything of value, any identification card, or to harass another person shall be punishable under this section. A conviction shall result in the following punishments:
  • A fine not to exceed $5,000, and/or
  • Imprisonment in a house of correction for no more than 2. 5 years.
In addition to the outlined penalties associated with identity theft, a person found guilty of violating these provisions shall be ordered to make restitution for financial loss sustained by the victim as a result of the violation. Financial loss may include any costs incurred by such victim is correcting the credit history of such victim or any costs incurred in connection with any civil or administrative proceeding to satisfy any debt or other obligation of such victim, including lost wages and attorney’s fees.

A Tough and Tailored Defense for your Credit Card Fraud Charges
If you have been accused of credit card fraud, you're likely very nervous and worried about your future. You might not understand the complex laws surrounding your case. When you retain the services of Attorney Patrick J. Murphy, you can rest assured that your rights, freedom and future are being protected with the utmost care. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has been proudly serving clients throughout Massachusetts for over 18 years, and has built a successful and well-respected firm ensuring that his clients’ needs are put first. If you have been charged with an identity theft or ATM skimming in Boston, you need an experienced Boston-area criminal defense attorney to review your case. If there are any defenses that may be exercised, they should be investigated before any plea deal is negotiated. For a confidential consultation please call our Boston fraud defense firm at (617) 367-0450 or submit the online contact form directly to our office.
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