Criminal offenses that are financial in nature are commonly referred to as white collar crimes. One of the most common white collar crimes in Pennsylvania is credit card fraud, which is referred to as “access device fraud” under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 4106.
When a person is arrested or even thinks that he or she might be under investigation for access device fraud or any other white collar crime relating to alleged unauthorized use of a credit card, it is in that individual’s best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Law Office of Melvin L. Vatz aggressively defends clients accused of white collar crimes in Pittsburgh and many surrounding areas of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Credit Card Fraud Laws
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 4106(d), an access device is defined as a credit card, debit card, ATM card, or essentially any other card that can be used to obtain or transfer money, funds, or anything of value. An access device may be altered if a validly issued device is changed in any way, incomplete if it is missing any required information, or counterfeit if it was not issued by an authorized party in the ordinary course of business.
A person can be charged with access device fraud as the result of any one of a number of actions. If a person uses an access device to obtain or to try to obtain property or services, it is a criminal offense if he or she does so with knowledge that the access device is altered, incomplete, or counterfeit.
The same transactions can also be criminal offenses when access devices were issued to other people who did not authorize their use or when access devices have been revoked or canceled. Other uses unauthorized by access device issuers or device holders can also result in criminal charges.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 4106(a)(3) makes simple possession of an altered, incomplete, or counterfeit credit card a criminal offense. Making, selling, or otherwise providing altered, incomplete, or counterfeit credit cards to other people can also result in criminal charges under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 4106(a)(2).
Access Device Fraud Penalties in Pennsylvania
Possession of an altered, incomplete, or counterfeit is a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Using or attempting to use a credit card to obtain or try to obtain property or services in any of the aforementioned prohibited scenarios is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine when the value of the property involved is less than $50. If the value is $50 or more but less than $500, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
When the value is more than $500, access device fraud is a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Making, selling, or otherwise providing altered, incomplete, or counterfeit access device cards is also a third-degree felony.
Find a White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney in Pittsburgh
If you believe that you could be under investigation or you were already arrested for credit card fraud or any other kind of white-collar crime in Pennsylvania, you should make sure to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. Contact the Law Office of Melvin L. Vatz as soon as possible.
Melvin L. Vatz is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Pittsburgh who can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (412) 391-3030 or contact us online to receive a free, confidential consultation.