There has been a lot of talk of credit card fraud in recent years and it is no wonder as the incidences of credit card fraud have skyrocketed. From the use of “skimmers” at gas pumps and taking personal information from another person to open up credit cards, the number of those who have been victims of credit card fraud grows daily.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports that the cost of credit card fraud in the U.S. may be as much as $500 million each year. This number includes consumers having to pay expenses associated with credit card fraud, such as higher financing charges, annual fees, and the costs associated with law enforcement investigations of credit card fraud and resources needed to prosecute these crimes. It is expensive and stressful, and it is sweeping the nation. Law enforcement and prosecutor tolerance for credit card fraud has grown thin, to say the least. This means that if you are facing a charge for credit card fraud, be prepared for them to come down hard on you. Additionally, if you are convicted of credit card fraud, be prepared for zero leniency in your sentencing. The government would want to make an example out of you.
Is Credit Card Fraud a Felony in Florida?
Section 817.61, Florida Statutes, outlines the crime of Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards. The statute reads that a person commits this crime when he or she uses a credit card with the intent to defraud a merchant and the credit card was:
- Unlawfully obtained;
- Forged; or
- Presented under the false pretense that the actual cardholder authorized the use.
Additionally, the credit card must have been used to obtain something of value from the merchant, such as money, goods, or services.
There are levels to the crime of credit card fraud. The applicable level will depend on the value of the goods obtained through the fraudulent use of the credit card or the number of times the credit card was fraudulently used. Generally, these numbers are calculated within a six-month time. So, multiple fraudulent credit card uses within a six-month time frame will be counted as one crime as opposed to multiple crimes. If the fraudulent credit card use occurred less than two times or the items obtained are valued at less than $100, it will be considered misdemeanor Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. This is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida and potential punishment includes:
- Up to one year in jail;
- Up to one year of probation; and
- A $1,000 fine.
If, during the six-month time frame, the credit card was fraudulently used more than two times or the value of the items obtained totals more than $100, then this will be considered a felony Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. This is a third-degree felony in Florida and it is punishable by:
- Up to five years in prison;
- Up to five years of probation; and
- A $5,000 fine.
Contact Herman Law Today
Facing credit card fraud charges should not be taken lightly. The government is on a mission to crack down in this kind of activity and they will be looking to make an example out of you. Attorney Ron Herman will stand by your side the whole time. Don’t go up against the government on your own. Attorney Herman is committed to zealously advocating for his clients. Contact Herman Law, P.A. today.