New York Credit Card Fraud Laws & Charges + Statute of Limitations

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In New York, state criminal law prohibits people from using a debit or credit card, or even a public benefit card that does not belong to them to achieve financial benefits. Using these items without the permission of the owner is an act of theft or fraud.

Credit card fraud as a crime might involve physically taking someone else’s credit card without his or her knowledge and using it. However, in most circumstances today, credit card fraud in New York involves individuals obtaining the numbers of credit cards without authorization, and using those numbers to obtain money or certain goods. Alternatively, credit card fraud can also relate to circumstances wherein criminals obtain the personal-identification information of a specific person and attempt to apply for a credit card that they can use in their name.

In the case of credit card fraud, an accusation in New York could also lead to a charge at the state level, or you may be charged with a federal offense, depending on the surrounding circumstances.

Laws and Penalties

The crime of credit card fraud in New York involves various offenses that relate to the theft and fraudulent use of a credit card. Often, these issues occur when a person uses another individual’s credit card to purchase an item or withdraw money. This crime is also frequently associated with some types of cybercrime, because many illegal transactions today take place over the internet, and credit card numbers can be stolen through computer-based phishing scams.

Offenses associated with credit card fraud in New York may include:

  • Stealing a credit card with intent to use it
  • Using other people’s credit cards without their permission or knowledge
  • Obtaining and using a fraudulent credit card
  • Manufacturing or distributing fraudulent credit cards
  • Creating a method of accessing credit card information that does not belong to you
  • Using fraudulent information on an application for a credit card

In New York, such an offense involves the Penal Code Section 165.15, which defines that even if someone buys something as small as a movie ticket with someone else’s credit card, they can still be convicted of credit card fraud. Such crimes are classified as a class A misdemeanor, which is typically punishable by up to one year in jail. When people use a card willfully that they know is not theirs, or not valid, then this also a class A misdemeanor. However, if the amount charged was over $1,000, then the crime of grand larceny might also apply, which is a felony offense.

The sentencing guidelines that are used for penalties in regards to credit card fraud in New York depend on the history of the individual and whether he or she has ever been charged with anything related to federal credit card offenses in the past. Depending on the part of 18 USC 3282 that has been breached, the convicted individual may be subject to imprisonment of up to fifteen years, a fine, and forfeiture of any valuables obtained from the crime in question.

Credit Card Fraud Defenses

Some of the most common defenses for credit card fraud include:

  • Infancy – This defense is used when the individual in question is under sixteen years of age. One example is when a person uses his or her mother’s credit card to pay for an item at the store.
  • Mental defect or disease – If the accused cannot be held responsible for their actions as a result of mental disability or defects, then they cannot be charged with credit card fraud.
  • Lack of evidence – It is also possible to argue that there isn’t enough evidence available to prove that fraud took place in the first place.
  • Absence of intent – Finally, in order for a person to be accused of credit card fraud, the prosecutor must be able to prove that an individual conducted that fraud willfully and with knowledge of the crime. For example, those who accidentally used someone else’s credit card to obtain something, would not be charged with credit card fraud. However, it will be up to the defendant to prove that the action was a mistake.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for credit card fraud in New York follows federal statute 18 USC 3282 guidelines for the general statute of crimes on a federal level that are deemed to be non-capital offenses or criminal activities. According to these guidelines, it is not possible to try, prosecute, or enact legal punishment for an offense of credit card fraud five years after the act was committed.

New York Credit Card Fraud Cases

Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

About Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

Geoffrey G Nathan is a top federal crimes lawyer and Chief Editor of FederalCharges.com. He is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988, admitted to practice in both Federal and State courts. If you have questions about your federal case he can help by calling 877.472.5775.