The crime of debit or credit card fraud involves the unauthorized taking of another individual's account information with the intent of either charging unauthorized purchases to the account or removing funds. It is often intertwined with the crime of identity theft, in which another person's personal identifying information (such as Social Security Number, birth date, and street address) in order to fraudulently open an account or commit other types of fraud. In many cases, the perpetrator of credit card fraud may also be charged with identity theft.
This article focuses on Texas credit card fraud, charged as a felony in the Lone Star State.
Texas Credit Card Fraud Laws at a Glance
||Texas Penal Code § 32.31
|Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse: Offenses
- Using a credit or debit card the defendant knows is not his own;
- The card has expired, been revoked, or cancelled;
- Using a fictitious card, or the pretended number of a fictitious card;
- Receiving any benefit that the defendant knows has been obtained by violation of this law;
- Stealing a credit or debit card with the intent to use it, sell it or transfer it to anyone but the cardholder;
- Buying a credit or debit card from someone the defendant knows is not the issuer of the card;
- Selling a credit or debit card;
- Inducing the cardholder to use his/her card to obtain property for the defendant's benefit when the cardholder is financially unable to pay for it;
- Possessing a credit or debit card that is not the defendant's own and having the intent to use it.
|Classification of the Crime
||All offenses in this statute are charged as a state jail felony; but charged as a third degree felony if the offense was committed against an elderly person.
|Sentences and Penalties
- State Jail Felony: 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility, find of up to $10,000.
- Third degree felony: 2 to 10 years in state prison, fine of up to $10,000.
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of intent
- Duress (being coerced to perform a crime that you other wise would not perform)
- Age (being a minor may lessen the penalty imposed)
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Texas criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Get Legal Help with Your Credit Card Fraud Case in Texas
If you're convicted of credit or debit card fraud in Texas, you'll most likely serve time in prison -- as much as 10 years, depending on the severity of the charges. Anytime you're facing the possibility of prison time, it's in your best interest to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney in Texas who can assess your options and put up a strategically sound defense on your behalf.