What are the Penalties for Credit Card Fraud in New Jersey?

man holding credit card

With newfound technology like online banking and e-commerce, credit card fraud has become a common and detrimental problem across the United States. If someone manages to steal your credit card information or hack into an account, they can have access to your finances and private information. The crime can have severe consequences for the victim and the associated penalties reflect this fact. If you or someone you know requires legal representation or assistance regarding credit card fraud charges, a Bergen County, New Jersey theft lawyer can help.

What Types of Credit Card Fraud Exist in NJ?

New Jersey takes credit card fraud very seriously and has strict laws regarding the subject. NJ state laws touch upon three different categories of credit card fraud. Those categories are making false statements to obtain a credit card, credit card theft, and the fraudulent use of credit cards. Different kinds of credit card theft and fraudulent use are umbrellaed under the last two categories. The definitions and requirements are as follows.

False statements to obtain a credit card:

  • Someone purposefully makes a false statement in writing for the purpose of being issued a credit card. The lie could be related to their identity, income, etc. but the person making the statement has to know that it is false.

Credit card theft:

  • Taking or using someone’s credit card without permission.
  • Receiving and wrongfully holding a lost credit card and using or attempting to use it.
  • Selling or buying credit cards knowing that they were stolen or unlawfully obtained.
  • Counterfeiting or altering a credit card.

Fraudulent use of credit cards:

  • Using a credit card while knowing that it has been revoked, forged, or expired, intending to defraud either the owner of the card or the person providing the goods.
  • Falsely representing the cardholder without permission.
  • Retail fraud by a goods or service provider.

What Are the Penalties for a Conviction?

The above crimes can be charged as a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) or as an indictable crime (felony). How you are charged will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Certain factors can exacerbate your charges while others may cause a court to rule more leniently. The following is a list of potential penalties for a credit card fraud conviction.

Fourth-degree crime: Can result in jail time of up to 18 months and fines of up to $10,000
Third-degree crime: Can result in jail time of 3 to 5 years and fines of up to $15,000
Second-degree crime: Can result in jail time of 5 to 10 years and additional fines

Do I Need a Lawyer?

You should always consult a skilled attorney when facing criminal charges. If you are convicted and have a criminal record it can affect the ease of your daily life, impacting your parental rights, ability to get a job, and ability to rent a home. You and your lawyer will work together to come up with an effective defense. They will help guide you through the case and efficiently gather relevant data, communicate with necessary parties, and defend you in court.

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