Bank and Credit Card Fraud and Related Crimes
Unlawful activity involving financial transaction cards, such as debit or credit cards, are serious crimes in North Carolina. There are many ways one can commit a criminal act involving financial transaction cards, but the general rule is that they must involve fraud. Fraud is not an honest mistake, but a criminal act of deception intended for personal or financial gain, often at the expense of others. Cases dealing with fraud are often very complex, as prosecution relies on a variety of ways to infer fraud based on many detailed pieces of information. For this and many other reasons, if you are facing charges or an investigation for financial transaction card fraud and related crimes you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The lawyers at Tarlton Polk have successfully defended many clients facing all kinds of fraud charges and know how to properly challenge prosecutors.
In North Carolina, there are three key ways you can be punished for financial transaction card fraud, as we discuss further in this article.
Forgery of a Financial Transaction Card
The first way a person can be guilty of financial transaction card fraud in North Carolina is through forgery. A person commits forgery when they produce or endorse a false copy of something with legal meaning for the purpose of fraud. In the case of financial transaction cards, a person is guilty of this crime when they commit any of the following with the intent to defraud:
- Falsely make or emboss an alleged financial transaction card.
- Falsely duplicate or alter an existing financial transaction card.
- Signing a financial transaction card while not being the cardholder or a person authorized by the cardholder.
This crime is punished as a class I felony. Note that this crime does not require the use of such a card for any purpose. Simply creating, duplicating, altering or signing such a card with intent to commit fraud is a crime.
Using an Illicit Card
The second way to be guilty of a financial transaction card crime in North Carolina is through the use of an illegal card. A person is guilty of this crime when they do the following:
- Use a financial transaction card that was either obtained with knowledge that it was forged, or otherwise know it was forged or obtained via a fraudulent application.
- with the intent to defraud and for the purpose of obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value.
If the value of all things received through use of the card does not exceed $500 in any 6-month period, this crime is punished as a class 2 misdemeanor. If the value exceeds $500 in any 6-month period, this crime is punished as a Class I felony.
Fraudulent Deposits of Money and Bank Machine Fraud
The third way to be guilty of a financial transaction card crime in North Carolina involves the use of automated banking devices. This typically refers to ATMs, but automated banking on another device such as a smartphone could constitute this crime as well. A person is guilty of this crime when they:
- Deposit or withdraw money, goods, services, or anything else of value, using an automated banking device,
- with a false or forged check, draft, money order, or other document in an account,
- with the knowledge that the document or card was forged or false, and with intent to defraud.
If the value of all things withdrawn or deposited through use of the card and automated banking device does not exceed $500 in any 6-month period, this crime is punished as a Class 2 misdemeanor. If the value exceeds $500 in any 6-month period, this crime is punished as a Class I felony.