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Credit Card Theft

Credit card theft is similar in name to credit card fraud but actually constitutes a very different charge.  Under the New Jersey credit card theft law, an individual commits a violation when he/she: (1) takes a credit card without the owner’s consent; (2) uses a lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered credit card; (3) sells or buys a credit card from a person other than the issuer; (4) obtains a credit card as security for a debt; (5) falsely makes or embosses a credit card; or (6) signs a credit card without authorization to do so. Depending on the which variety of this crime is committed, a defendant will be facing either a third or fourth degree offense and the possibility of a felony criminal record. The following is a more detailed discussion of each pedigree of credit card theft. To speak to an attorney who is experienced in theft of credit card charges, call our Newark Office any time 24/7 at 973-710-1520.

I. Taking The Credit Card of Another Without Consent

The first type of credit card theft involves a defendant who takes the credit card of another without the cardholder’s consent or who receives it with knowledge that it has been so taken. A violation of this provision, N.J.S.A. 2C:21–6(c)(1), is a crime of the fourth degree. For this offense, the state must also prove that the person who took or received the card did so with an intent to use, sell or transfer it to a person other than the issuer or cardholder. This offense has been expanded to encompass the person who obtains the credit card of another as well as the person who takes the credit card of another without the cardholder’s consent or who receives it with knowledge that it has been so taken. As a fourth degree crime, this is an indictable offense that will be handled by the Essex County Superior Court. Moreover, a conviction under this offense, N.J.S.A. 2C:21–6(c)(1), carries up to eighteen (18) months of incarceration.

II. Using A Lost, Mislaid, or Mistakenly Delivered Credit Card

The second type of credit card theft involves a person who receives a credit card that was lost, mislaid or delivered under a mistake as to the identity or address of the cardholder. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21–6(c)(2), there are two other material elements that the state must prove. It must prove that the defendant knew about the loss, the mislaying or the mistake. Third, the state must prove that the defendant intended to use, sell or transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder. A violation of this provision is a crime of the fourth degree and carries upwards of eighteen (18) months of imprisonment, along with significant fiscal penalties.

III. Selling or Buying A Credit Card from a Person Other than Issuer

The third credit card offense which is also a crime of the fourth degree occurs if a person other than the issuer sells a credit card or if a person buys a credit card from a person other than the issuer. The term “Issuer” includes the business organizations, financial institutions or their duly authorized agents. Similar to the above-discussed crimes, a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:21–6(c)(3) carries up to eighteen (18) months in prison.

IV. Obtaining A Credit Card As Security For A Debt

The fourth credit card offense, which also is a crime of the fourth degree occurs, when the defendant obtains control over the credit card as security for a debt with intent to defraud either the issuer or a person providing money, goods, services or anything of value. If convicted, N.J.S.A. 2C:21–6(c)(4) carries the possibility of eighteen (18) months of incarceration in a New Jersey Prison.

V. Falsely Making or Embossing Credit Card

The fifth credit card offense occurs when a person falsely makes or embosses a credit card with intent to defraud a purported issuer or person who provides goods, services or anything of value. This offense also occurs when a person utters such a credit card with the requisite fraudulent intent. A person who violates this credit card provision is guilty of a third degree crime. Accordingly, this is the most severe of the credit card theft crimes and carries up to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Pr

VI. Signing of a Credit Card Without Authorization

The sixth credit card theft occurs when a person other than a cardholder or a person authorized by the cardholder signs a credit card. The signer must do it with the intent to defraud the issuer or the person. A violation of this section is a crime of the fourth degree and carries up to eighteen (18) months of incarceration.

If you a loved one are facing third or fourth degree crimes, legal assistance should be sought. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the requisite resources and experience necessary to handle your case from start to finish. Contact our Newark Office at 973-710-1520 and speak with an attorney today.