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Does Credit Card Fraud Involve Jail Time?

North Carolina may impose severe penalties if you get caught committing credit card fraud, forgery, or theft. Credit cards are a type of Financial Transaction Card or FTC. The penalties you face depend on the amount of money stolen, the type of credit card fraud, and other factors. Let’s look at different scenarios where you may get jail time for credit card fraud.

What Is Credit Card Fraud?

Anyone commits credit card fraud when they make unauthorized use of another individual’s financial transaction card (FTC). If you knowingly use a credit card without permission or attempt to defraud anyone by using credit card information, you’ve committed FTC crimes in NC. 

Laws related to FTCs include all fraudulent actions to receive financial gain from another person’s:

  • credit card
  • credit plate 
  • bank services card
  • banking card
  • check guarantee card 
  • debit card

Financial Transaction Cards or FTC’s such as credit cards, face governance under Article 19B of the Financial Transaction Card Crime Act.

When Do You Face Charges for FTC Theft?

Financial transaction card (FTC) theft charges include when you:

  • Take, obtain or withhold a financial transaction card from another person or if you have possession of their FTC without their consent and you intend to use the FTC or sell it.  
  • Receive an FTC that you know is lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered, but you keep it and plan to use it or sell it. 
  • Sell or buy an FTC that is not yours (and you are not the issuing company)
  • Possess two or more other individual’s FTCs that you know (or should know) were taken or retained fraudulently
  • Use a scanning device to access, read, obtain, memorize, store, temporarily or permanently, information on another’s card that you intend to use for financial gain. 

When Do You Face Charges for FTC Forgery?

You can also face charges for credit card (or FTC) forgery, which includes when you: 

  • Falsely make or emboss an FTC or say the info on it intending to defraud someone
  • Encode, duplicate, or alter existing encoded information on an FTC or tell the info to defraud someone. 
  • Sign a financial transaction card that’s not yours with the intent to defraud
  • Make or draw a device or instrument which claims to be someone else’s FTC.
  • Alter an FTC that was validly issued.
  • Falsely emboss an FTC without authorization of the owner
  • Falsely encode a financial transaction card without authorization
  • Record magnetically, electronically, electro-magnetically, or by any other means whatsoever information on an FTC which will permit acceptance of that card by any automated banking device. 
  • Possess two or more FTCs that are falsely made or falsely embossed

When Do You Face Charges for Credit Card Fraud? 

You are guilty of financial transaction card fraud when you intend to defraud someone for money, goods, services, etc., knowing the owner does not authorize you to use the FTC OR knowing that the FTC was forged, altered, expired, or revoked. You can commit credit card fraud through any of these actions:

  • Representing without the consent of the cardholder that you are the cardholder
  • Presenting the financial transaction card without the authorization or permission of the cardholder
  • Representing that you are a cardholder for an unissued card. 
  • Using an FTC to knowingly and willfully:
    • Exceed the actual balance of a demand deposit account or time deposit account
    • Exceed an authorized credit line in an amount that exceeds $500.00 or 50% of the authorized credit line
    • Obtain control over a financial transaction card as security for a debt
    • Use an automated banking device to deposit money, a counterfeit check, draft, or money order that is not yours.
    • Receive money, goods, or services not yours from a counterfeit check, draft, or money order deposited via an automated banking device
  • Making a false statement or report relative to your name, occupation, financial condition, assets, or liabilities.
  • Willfully and substantially overvalue your assets, substantially undervalue your indebtedness to influence the issuer to issue you an FTC.
  • Giving a false notice or report of theft, loss, disappearance, or nonreceipt of your FTC.

Employers authorized to receive FTCs for goods or services may also face charges if they intend to defraud their customers by:

  • Furnishing money, goods, services, etc. for a forged, revoked, expired, or stolen card
  • Failing to furnish money, goods, services, or anything of value but telling the financial institution that the transaction occurred.

What About Jail Time?

If the value of all stolen money, goods, services is less than $500 in a 6-month period, according to G.S. 14-113.17(a), you will likely face Class 2 Misdemeanor Charges which, upon conviction, could include 1-60 days jail, probation, or a fine. A charge of FTC Theft, Fraud, or Forgery will also bring many associated court fees, possible fines, a criminal record, and attorney fees.

FTC theft valued over $500 in a 6-month period is punishable as provided by G.S. 14-113.17(b) as a Class I felony with a likely 3-12 months jail or probation. A charge of financial transaction card theft will also bring associated court fees, possible fines, a felony record, and attorney fees. 

We Can Help

If you’re facing charges for misdemeanor or felony FTC theft, fraud, or forgery, we can help. At Scharff Law, we investigate all the circumstances of your case and whether your rights were violated in any way. Our success in negotiating with prosecutors produces the best outcome for your situation. We help you find your way through the legalities of the courtroom and keep you up to date on what is happening with your case at all times. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and find out how we can help you move forward.