The crime of credit card fraud encompasses a number of illegal acts. While many are filed as misdemeanors, the criminal penalties can be significant. Sentences often include huge fines and time spent in jail, with more severe convictions being assigned years in state prison. Sarasota fraud lawyer Erika Valcarcel realizes how devastating these charges can be and knows how to properly handle these types of accusations. With time spent as both a prosecutor and a defender, attorney Erika Valcarcel is able to anticipate the prosecution’s strategy in order to construct the strongest possible defense. She will vehemently fight for your freedom, whether that involves pointing out police misconduct or conducting an independent investigation.

Call (941) 363-7900 today to see how you can avoid spending time behind bars, if possible.

Defining Credit Card Fraud

According to Florida law, credit card fraud is committed when forged or stolen cards are used, sold, or purchased. Counterfeiting or altering credit cards is also considered a form of fraud. Within this definition, credit cards include ATM cards, check cards, credit card, banking cards, debit cards, and any other card type that can be used for financial transactions. In order to reach a conviction, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The accused intentionally used the credit card in order to pay for certain items or to obtain funds; and
  • The accused was aware that the card in question was stolen, forged, or unlawfully obtained, and posed as the card holder

Consequences for Credit Card Fraud

The Florida Credit Card Crime Act dictates the criminal penalties that are assigned for credit card fraud. Under this act, crimes that involve a form of credit card fraud are filed as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the value of the funds or goods that were obtained. When the crime involves funds or property with a value of under $100, the crime is filed as a first-degree misdemeanor, whereas a crime that involves a value of over $100 is filed as a third-degree felony. Sentences for crimes involving credit card fraud include, but are not limited to:

  • Credit Card Fraud (First Degree Misdemeanor): A fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail
  • Credit Card Fraud (Third Degree Felony): A fine of up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in state prison

In addition to criminal sentencing, a conviction can result in consequences that will haunt you for life. Finding a job, for example, might become a daunting task with a criminal record holding you back. It might also be difficult to continue your education, as most colleges and universities vet applicants before admitting them. What’s more, it may be difficult to obtain financial aid. Many scholarships are off-limits to those with conviction histories.

Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Today

With the help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer who has experience with credit card offenses, you can implement a number of defenses that can be used to protect your freedom. One effective strategy is proving that you were unaware of the credit card’s fraudulent nature. Perhaps you obtained the card from what appeared to be a legitimate vendor, or maybe you scammed by a real credit card company. It might also be the case that you were given permission to use the card by the credit card holder. If you had permission, the crime of credit card fraud did not occur.

If you have been charged with credit card fraud, you are likely worried about the consequences that could follow a conviction. This type of accusation can devastate every aspect of your life. From a ruined career to altered relationships, there is no area left unaffected. Sarasota fraud lawyer Erika Valcarcel understands these challenges and believes that the key to mounting a successful defense is listening to your side of the story.

Call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 now for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.