Many people equate the term “white collar crime” with Ponzi schemes, stock fraud, identity theft and similar types of allegations. There are, however, other types of white collar crimes that fall into these categories. Credit card crimes are examples.
Under state law, theft and acquiring a credit card through fraud can lead to various penalties including jail time and fines. Depending on the allegations, these can be misdemeanors or felonies. Knowing the law and what charges are being made can be crucial with formulating an effective defense.
Know what constitutes theft and fraudulent acts with credit cards
A person who has taken or retained a credit card without the cardholder’s approval will be charged with credit card theft. They will also be charged if they took or received the card intending to use it, sell it or transfer it to another person.
Using a credit card that was delivered to them by mistake or one they found is also categorized as theft. For example, if a credit card was delivered to the wrong address, the person who received it cannot activate and use it or give it to another person to activate and use.
People who make purchases or are involved in sales using another person’s credit card; have acquired a credit card as security for a debt; are labeled a credit card “dealer” and issued at least two credit cards in other people’s names; have forged a credit card; signed another person’s credit card; or unlawfully possess a stolen credit or debit card can also be charged under this statute. Dealing in credit cards or forging them will be a third-degree felony.
A first-degree misdemeanor in Florida can result in a fine of $1,000 and a year in County jail. For a third-degree felony, the person can be fined up to $5,000 and be imprisoned for up to five years. In some cases, the victim or victims might receive restitution.
White collar crimes can result in severe consequences
Credit cards are a necessary part of everyday life and there are often accusations of people committing various types of crimes related to them. Those who are confronted with these charges might have been caught up in a criminal activity without their knowledge. There could be a misunderstanding with the credit card holder. Or they might be completely innocent. Penalties for white collar crimes are surprisingly harsh. Crafting a viable defense is imperative from the outset and can be helpful with avoiding the worst consequences.