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New York Credit Card Fraud Laws

Overview of New York Credit Card Fraud Laws

New York criminal law prohibits two distinct usages of a credit card, debit card, and in some cases a public benefit card to commit a crime of theft or fraud. Section 165.15(1) of the New York Penal Code describes the first illicit usage - that of a person obtaining or attempting to obtain a service on a credit basis, by the use of a credit card or debit card which he or she knows to be stolen - or inducing or attempting to induce the supplier of the service to agree to payment on a credit basis by the same means.

The second illicit usage of a credit, debit or public benefit card is found in Section 165.17, which prohibits a person's unlawful use or display of a credit card, debit card, or public benefit card - which he or she knows to be revoked or canceled - to obtain property or a service.

In order to convict a defendant of unlawful use of a revoked or canceled credit, debit or public benefit card, the prosecution need not prove that the defendant acquired the card unlawfully, nor that property or a service was actually purchased.  

Example: One month after receiving notice of the revocation of his credit card, Felix goes to a convenience store and, in order to purchase a carton of cigarettes by personal check, shows the revoked credit card to the store manager. Felix would likely be found guilty of the crime of unlawful use of a credit card.

Additional Related Crimes

A person who commits theft of services through the use of a stolen credit or debit card may also be found liable for other theft-related crimes. For one, the theft of the stolen card itself may be prosecuted as larceny or criminal possession of stolen property. In addition, if the person using the card signs for a purchase in the cardholder's name without the latter's permission, he or she may be guilty of forgery.

Below you will find key information about New York credit card fraud laws. 

  • New York Penal Law §165.15 (Theft of Services)
  • New York Penal Law §165.17 (Unlawful Use of a Credit, Debit, or Public Benefit Card)
  • New York Penal Law §165.45 (Possession of Stolen Property/Credit Cards)
  • New York Penal Law §155.30(4 ) Credit Card Grand Larceny & Theft
Possible Defenses
  • Infancy (for persons less than 16 years of age)
  • Mental disease or defect
  • Theft of Services by Credit or Debit Card and Unlawful Use of Credit or Debit Card: Class A misdemeanor, up to one year jail, a fine up to $1,000
  • Possession of Stolen Property/Credit Cards and Credit Card Grand Larceny: Class E felony, up to four years prison, fine up to $5,000 or double the defendant's gain from commission of the crime
Related Crimes
  • Identity Theft 
  • Forgery 
  • Grand Larceny from Person 
Penalty Enhancement for Prior Felony Convictions
  • Prior felony within last ten years, minimum prison sentence is one and one half to three years

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New York Credit Card Fraud Laws Related Resources:

Charged with Credit Card Fraud? Get Legal Help With Your Case

Whether you are charged with stealing a debit card or using a credit card without the account holder's permission, you likely have questions about possible defenses and the reality of a negotiated plea bargain. To learn more about the law, your case, and your legal options, schedule a consultation with a local New York criminal defense attorney who specializes in white collar crimes.

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