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Credit Card Fraud

The offense known as credit card fraud embodies four (4) situations wherein a violation arises under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6.  This offense, namely, the use of credit cards fraudulently, arises in one of five (5) ways. The first way a violation occurs is when someone receives anything of value by making false statements to procure issuance of a credit card. The second scenario a 2C:21-6 charge arises where someone knowingly uses a revoked, forged or expired credit card. Third, a violation can occur where the provider of money, goods, or services improperly uses a credit card (e.g. merchant’s fraudulent misuse). The fourth a credit card fraud results is when someone fraudulently using a credit card. The fifth and final variety of this offense is where someone makes false statements in order to obtain a credit card. Since all four of the varieties of credit card fraud are indictable felony crimes of either the third or fourth degree, it is always wise to seek experienced representation when you have been charged. The attorneys who are members of our defense team are skilled in defending all criminal offenses at the Superior Court in Newark NJ and have even served as prosecutors previously in this court. For immediate assistance from an attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, call 973-710-1520.

I. Receipt of Anything of Value As Result of Credit Card Fraud

Under certain circumstances, persons who receive money, goods, services or anything of value, as a consequence of a credit card fraud, are guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. This statute, under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(g), is directed toward the receiver of the benefits, rather than the user of the card. For the first type of receiving offense, the State must prove the following three (3) material elements:

1. That the accused received money, goods, services or anything else of value;
2. These benefits were knowingly obtained on the basis of a credit card that was forged, expired or revoked, or based on the representation that the person uttering the card was the cardholder (but without his consent), or on the representation that the utterer was the cardholder when in fact the card had not been issued; and
3. The receiver knew or believed such a fraud had occurred.

There is a presumption of the requisite knowledge if the defendant obtained, at a discount, a ticket issued by an airline, railroad, steamship or other transportation company, and the ticket had been obtained by one of the specified fraudulent methods and the person who received the benefits did not make a diligent inquiry that the person from whom he received the ticket had a right to possess the ticket. This presumption, as well as all the other presumptions in this section, are not mandatory. The trier of the fact may accept or reject the inference. As a crime of the fourth degree, a conviction will carry up to eighteen (18) months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00.

II. Use of a Credit Card Knowing it has Been Revoked, Forged or Expired

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(d)(1), it is a crime of the third degree to “Use a Credit Card Knowing it has Been Revoked, Forged or Expired”. For the State to convict an individual of this offense, they must prove the following four (4) elements:

1. That the accused intended to defraud the issuer or a person providing money, goods, services or anything else of value;
2. The credit card must be used for these purposes;
3. The card which is used must be forged, expired or revoked; and
4. The accused must have knowledge of the forgery, expiration or revocation.

As a crime of the third degree, this offense carries up to five (5) years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.00, if convicted.

III. Fraud Committed By the Provider of Money, Goods or Services

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(e), it is a crime of the third or fourth degree for a person authorized to furnish money, goods and services to defraud the issuer. There are two different offenses of this type. The first type of offense, under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(e)(1), occurs when the provider knew that card was being used to commit a theft, that the card was forged, or that the card had expired. For the State to convict an individual under this offense, they must prove the following four (4) elements:

1. That the accused is a person authorized by an issuer or his agent to furnish money, goods, services or anything else of value;
2. The accused provided money, goods, etc;
3. The accused did so with an intent to defraud either the issuer or the cardholder; and
4. The accused when he furnished the money, goods, etc. knew that the card had been obtained or retained in violation of the theft prohibitions of the New Jersey Criminal Code or he knew that the card had been forged, expired or revoked.

As a crime of the third degree, this offense carries up to five (5) years in prison and a fine upwards of $15,000.00, if convicted.

The second type of offense, under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(e)(2), occurs when an individual falsely represented that he issued goods or services. This offense is a fourth degree crime, and the State must prove the following three (3) elements to convict an individual under the statute:

1. That the accused is a person authorized by the issuer to furnish money, goods, services or anything else of value upon presentation of a credit card by the cardholder;
2. The accused represented in writing to the issuer that he has furnished the money, goods, etc; and
3. That the accused in fact did not furnish the money, goods, services or anything of value.

As a crime of the fourth degree, a conviction will carry up to eighteen (18) months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00.

IV. Fraudulent Use of Credit Card

It is a third degree crime to Fraudulently Use a Credit Card. This offense is directed at the person who uses a counterfeit, fictitious, altered, forged, lost, stolen or fraudulently obtained credit card to obtain money, goods, services or anything else of value. It must be proved that the defendant acted knowingly. The offense is also directed at the person who furnishes, acquires or uses any actual or fictitious credit card, whether alone or together with names of credit cardholders, or other information pertaining to a credit card account in any form with unlawful or fraudulent intent. As a crime of the third degree, this offense carries up to five (5) years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.00, if convicted.

V. Making False Statements to Procure Issuance of a Credit Card

Lastly, it is a crime of the fourth degree to Make False Statements to Procure Issuance of a Credit Card. Under the statute, it is unlawful for a person to:

1. Make or cause to be made, either directly or indirectly, any false statement in writing;
2. The false statement must be made respecting his or her own identity or the identity of another person or of a firm or corporation;
3. The individual (defendant) must know that the false statement was false and must intend the false statement to be relied upon; and
4. The individual (defendant) must have made the false statement with the purpose of procuring the issuance of a credit card.

As a crime of the fourth degree, Making False Statements to Procure Issuance of a Credit Card will carry up to eighteen (18) months in prison, if convicted. Moreover, the convicted individual will face a fine up to $10,000.00, as well as potential civil liability.

If you have been charged with credit card fraud under any of these scenarios, do not hesitate to contact this office for immediate assistance from an experienced criminal attorney.