Credit Card Fraud


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Unauthorized use of another person’s credit card may be a one-time mistake that you deeply regret afterward. But if you take somebody else’s credit card, and use it to make purchases and/or unauthorized bank withdrawals without their permission, you can be prosecuted in either Pennsylvania or federal court.

Your penalties for a federal conviction can be very harsh, and include years in prison as well as substantial fines. If you are indicted, you will need a strong and aggressive defense.

What You Need To Know About Federal Credit Card Fraud

Federal law makes it illegal to deceptively use somebody else’s credit card to obtain, or attempt to obtain, money, possessions or services.

Some of the credit card fraud schemes used most often include:

  • Stealing another person’s credit card
  • Requesting new, additional or replacement credit cards in another person’s name without their permission
  • Gaining access to somebody else’s credit card number and using it without their permission to make purchases online or over the phone
  • Phishing schemes that trick unsuspecting people into entering their credit card numbers on fake websites.

The Secret Service is the primary federal agency charged with investigating credit card fraud.

If you are convicted, your sentence can include as many as 10 years in a federal penitentiary and fines up to $250,000. Your actual sentence will be determined by the circumstances of your case and federal sentencing guidelines.

State Versus Federal

The federal court system is complex, and its procedures are significantly different from those in the Pennsylvania court system. One of the biggest contrasts is that the federal court system uses unique, complicated sentencing guidelines to decide how someone convicted of a federal crime will be punished.

Another difference is that federal prosecutors can draw on extensive resources, including the results of lengthy investigations conducted by federal agents. Philadelphia area prosecutors do not have those kinds of resources available to them.

If you have been charged with a federal crime, you are probably facing more severe consequences than if you had been charged by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

How A Lawyer Will Help

When you are up against a fraud charge, you will be facing inflexible laws and a determined US prosecutor. You will need an attorney who can help you determine all of your options and achieve the best outcome for your circumstances.

United States Code

Read more about federal criminal offenses in the United States Code.

Questions? Contact us today.

If you are charged with a federal crime, the consequences can be devastating. Fienman Defense will fight tenaciously to protect your constitutional rights. We will guide you through a court system that can be complex and intimidating, and provide you with the strongest possible defense.