What to Do if You are Accused of Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud matters have several moving parts and are difficult to prove in court.

Modern payment methods have all but eliminated some kinds of credit card fraud, such as skimming. Fraudsters installed illegal skimmers on magnetic swipers to steal credit card information. Now, most people use smartphone apps or digital chips, technologies that are immune to skimmers. However, other kinds of credit card fraud, especially CNP (card not present) fraud, remain common.

Essentially, fraud is a false statement (or similar conduct) of a material fact that leads to an unlawful financial gain. Furthermore, the defendant must intend to defraud the credit card owner. More on fraudulent intent is below. If a Norcross criminal defense lawyer develops a defense, prosecutors normally offer favorable deals during pretrial negotiation sessions. Guilty pleas end matters sooner and give defendants much more control over the outcome.

Let Your Norcross Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Build a Defense

Like most criminal offenses, credit card fraud has two basic elements, which are actus rea (criminal act) and mens rea (unlawful intent).

Permission, or lack thereof, is usually the central mens rea issue, especially in employer-issued card fraud or similar matters. Frequently, card owners indirectly grant permission and give it and don’t revoke it, or they grant broad permission.

Assume ABC Company allows employees to use company cards for travel-related expenses. If Joe used his card to buy groceries for a trip, Alice can do the same thing unless the boss explicitly says no. Furthermore, “travel-related” is a very subjective phrase.

Other card owners have impure motives for coming forward. They file charges so an employee will get in trouble or for another non-monetary reason.

Similar principles apply to credit card fraud mens rea. Some people fraudulently use cards to embarrass the owner or make a political statement.

Plead Guilty

A guilty plea is not an easy way out or a white flag of surrender. Instead, defendants only plead guilty following extensive negotiations. During these talks, a Norcross criminal defense lawyer uses the above defenses, and others as well, as bargaining chips.

Many credit card fraud plea agreements include charge reduction. To encourage defendants to plead guilty, many prosecutors reduce felony charges to misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanors, while serious, don’t have the same direct and collateral effects as felonies.

Complete Probation

Prosecutors typically demand that defendants pay restitution. Jail sentences usually don’t include conditions. Defendants serve their time and are released. Probation, on the other hand, usually includes several conditions, such as paying restitution, performing community service, and reporting to a supervision officer at least once a month.

Attorneys continue advocating for defendants through the probation process. Probation conditions are like traffic violations. No one can drive more than a few blocks without breaking at least one traffic law, and no one can live more than a few months without violating a condition of probation.

The obvious difference is that most traffic infractions go unpunished, either because an officer doesn’t see them or doesn’t report them. In contrast, even a minor rule infraction could have serious consequences for probationers.

At a probation revocation hearing, attorneys repeat the same process they used in the underlying case. Additionally, Georgia judges can modify or terminate probation at almost any time if a defense lawyer makes such a motion.

Count on a Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Attorney

Credit card cases are extremely complex. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law.