Credit Card Fraud

According to Massachusetts law, credit card fraud encompasses a number of different offenses involving the illegal use of credit cards by a defendant for some sort of monetary gain. Credit card fraud has increased nationwide as the number of credit cards has significantly increased in recent years. Now, there are more than 200,000,000 credit cards being used across the country. With the typical family possessing more than three different credit card accounts, legislatures across the country have acted quickly to sign into law a number of detailed credit card fraud statutes.

Like many long-standing fraud statutes, which cover situations in which defendant knowingly misrepresents facts or deceives in order to attain some sort of financial gain, Massachusetts credit card fraud statutes include similar conduct when credit cards are involved. Massachusetts statutes explicitly prohibit knowingly making false statements in order to obtain a credit card, theft of a credit card with the intent to use or sell the card, receiving a credit card that the defendant knows has been lost or stolen and keeping the credit card with the intent to sell or use the card, selling or buying a credit card without being authorized to do so, keeping and using a credit card that was mistakenly delivered to the wrong address or person, or using a credit card in violation of the previous conditions in order to obtain money, goods or services of less than $250.

If a defendant is found in violation of any of these provisions, the penalties are severe. The maximum jail sentence for a defendant is one year in jail and a fine of $500. In addition, Massachusetts law prohibits defendants from obtaining control over a credit card for the purposes of securing a debt, receiving a stolen credit card, falsely making or embossing a credit card, making a false statement reporting a credit card to be lost or stolen and obtaining money, goods, or services through the fraudulent use of a credit card to obtain money, goods, or services in excess of $250. These violations are considered to be more severe by the legislature, and therefore carry a much more severe sentence. If a defendant is found guilty of violating this provision of Massachusetts law, he could face imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of $2,000.

While all facets of Massachusetts law regarding credit card fraud involve specific intent, meaning the defendant must knowingly commit or participate in the fraudulent act, certain types of credit card fraud does not include the specific intent requirement. If a defendant is in possession of four or more falsely embossed credit cards, the jury is instructed to presume that the defendant has violated the statute, meaning the defendant knowingly possessed the falsely embossed cards. In addition, defendants found in possession of stolen credit cards issued in the names of four or more other persons are presumed to have knowingly violated the statute.

Credit Card Fraud Defense Lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP

Contact our Boston/Cambridge attorneys for a free initial consultation if you or a loved one is being charged with credit card fraud. Our team of criminal defense lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP will deliver the best defense possible for you. Please call 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free) or contact us online to schedule your free-of-charge case evaluation. We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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