Today, less and less people use cash or checks for financial transactions and more use credit cards, debit cards, and even gift cards. With this increase of using cards, it also means that crimes related to the use of financial cards is also increasing. North Carolina has specific laws addressing fraud and theft of financial cards, which are considered white collar crimes.
§ 14 -113.9. Financial transaction card theft
A person is guilty of financial card theft when he:
- Takes, obtains, or withholds a financial card without the cardholder’s consent and with the intent to use it; or, knowing that the card has been illegally obtained, intends to use or sell it or transfer it to another person other than the card issuer (usually the bank( or the cardholder.
- Receives a financial card the he knows to have been lost, misplaced, or delivered by mistake and who retains that card with the intent to use it or sell is or to transfer it to another person.
- Buys or sells a financial card from a person other than the issuer.
- Not being the card issuer, during any 12-month period, receives cards in the names of two or more persons by means of identity theft.
- Uses a scanning device to access, read, obtain, memorize, or store information encoded on another person’s financial transaction card or receives the encoded information from another person’s financial card.
§ 14 -113.11. Forgery of financial transaction card
A person is guilty of financial card forgery when he:
- Falsely embosses a purported financial transaction card or tries to use a forged financial card with the intent to defraud a card issuer, person, or organization providing anything of financial value.
- Falsely encodes, duplicates or alters existing encoded information or tries to use an altered financial card.
- Signs a financial card fraud when not being the cardholder or the person authorized by the cardholder.
§ 14 -113.13. Financial transaction card fraud
A person is guilty of financial card fraud when, with intent to defraud the issuer, a person, or organization providing money, goods, services or anything else of value, he:
- Uses a financial card that he knows is forged, altered, expired, revoked or was obtained as a result of a fraudulent application.
- Obtains money, goods, services, or anything else of value that he is the holder of the card when he is not; uses the card without the authorization or permission of the cardholder; represents that he is the holder of a card and such card has not in fact been issued; or uses the financial card to knowingly and willfully exceed the actual balance of the account or which exceeds the authorized credit line by $500 or 50% of the authorized credit line, whichever is greater.
- Obtains control of a financial card as security for debt.
- Deposits into his or any other account by means of an automated banking device a false, fictitious, forged, altered or counterfeit financial instruments such as check, draft, money order or any other such document not his lawful or legal property.
- Deposits anything of value into an account via an automated banking device, knowing that the document was false, fictitious, forged, altered or counterfeit.
- Furnishes money or anything else of value upon presentation of a forged financial card when he is authorized by the card issuer to furnish the item of value.
- Fails to issue anything of value which he represents to the card issuer he has furnished.
- Knowingly makes a false statement upon application for a financial card about his name, occupation, financial condition, assets, or liabilities to influence the issuer to issue a financial card.
- Falsely reports the theft, loss, disappearance or non-receipt of a financial card.
§ 14 -113.14. Criminal possession of financial transaction card forgery devices
A person is guilty of criminal possession of financial transaction card forgery devices when he:
- Possesses two or more incomplete financial cards with the intent to complete them without the consent of the issuer.
Possesses machinery, plates, or any other contrivance designed to reproduce instruments purporting to be financial cards to an issuer who has not consented to the preparation of such financial cards.
While this is a lot of information, these are only the broad brushstrokes of the financial card crimes statute. While some of these crimes can be charged as misdemeanors, they are more commonly seen at the felony level. Some of these crimes can even reach the federal level.
If you are being investigated for a crime related to financial card theft, forgery or fraud, you should speak with a financial card crimes attorney prior to speaking with law enforcement to protect your rights and see what can be done to try to prevent you from being criminally charged.
If you have already been charged, these cases can range from the simple to resolve to large scale conspiracies that are quite complex. Get the advice of a criminal lawyer to investigate your case and determine a defense strategy.