When you refer to the term “credit card fraud” under New Jersey law, you are really referring to a group of individual criminal offenses. The individual crimes falling within this umbrella include Making False Statements to Procure Issuance of a Credit Card, Use of a Credit Card Knowing it has been Revoked, Forged or Expired, Fraud Committed by the Provider of Money, Goods or Services, Receipt of Anything of Value as a Result of Credit Card Fraud and Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. Each one of these offenses is discussed individually on this page and all involve felony criminal charges of the third degree or fourth degree. If you or a loved one was charged with any variety of credit card fraud, you should know that our lawyers are often able to avoid a felony conviction and other serious penalties for our clients. To speak to an attorney about this offense, call us 24/7 at 862-203-4070.
Credit Card Fraud Lawyer in Hawthorne NJ
New Jersey Credit Card Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6
I. Making a False Statement to Obtain a Credit Card
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(b), it is a crime of the fourth degree to Make False Statements to Procure Issuance of a Credit Card. Under this statute, it is a violation of law to do any of the following:
- Make or cause to be made, either directly or indirectly, any false statement in writing;
- The false statement must be made respecting his or her own identity or the identity of another person or of a firm or corporation;
- The defendant must know that the false statement was false and must intend the false statement to be relied upon; or
- The defendant must have made the false statement with the purpose of procuring the issuance of a credit card.
As a crime of the fourth degree, Making False Statements to Procure Issuance of a Credit Card will carry up to eighteen (18) months in prison, if convicted. Moreover, the defendant will face a fine up to $10,000, along with potential civil liability.
II. Use of a Revoked, Forged or Expired Credit Card
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(d)(1), it is a crime of the third degree to “Use a Credit Card Knowing it has Been Revoked, Forged or Expired”. For the State to convict an individual of this offense, they must prove the following four elements:
- That the defendant intended to defraud the issuer or a person providing money, goods, services or anything else of value;
- The credit card must be used for these purposes;
- The card which is used must be forged, expired or revoked; and
- The defendant must have knowledge of the forgery, expiration or revocation.
As a crime of the third degree, this offense carries up to five (5) years in prison and a fine up to $15,000, if convicted.
III. Credit Fraud By the Provider of Money, Goods or Services
A violation of this section, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(e), can be a crime of the third degree or fourth degree depending on the underlying facts involved. If the offense occurs when the provider knew that the card was being used to commit a theft or was forged or had expired, then the violation is a third degree crime. If the violation was the result of the provider misrepresenting that he or she sold/issued the goods, then the charge is a fourth degree.
IV. Receipt of Merchandise As Result of Credit Card Fraud
An individual may be charged with a fourth degree crime for what is essentially the credit card subspecies of the offense of receiving stolen property. This law, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(g), is directed toward those who receive the benefits from the improper use of a credit card. To be found guilty of this charge, the state must prove three (3) material elements:
- That the defendant received money, goods, services or anything else of value;
- These benefits were knowingly obtained on the basis of a credit card that was forged, expired or revoked or based on the representation that the person uttering the card was the cardholder (but without his consent) or on the representation that the utterer was the cardholder when in fact the card had not been issued; and
- The receiver knew or believed such a fraud had occurred.
There is a presumption of the requisite knowledge if the defendant obtained, at a discount, a ticket issued by an airline, railroad, steamship or other transportation company, and the ticket had been obtained by one of the specified fraudulent methods and the person who received the benefits did not make a diligent inquiry that the person from whom he received the ticket had a right to possess the ticket.
V. Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card
Lastly, it is a third degree crime for someone to fraudulently use a credit card. This offense is directed at the person who uses a counterfeit, fictitious, altered, forged, lost, stolen or fraudulently obtained credit card to obtain money, goods, services or anything else of value. It must be proved that the defendant acted knowingly. The offense is also directed at the person who furnishes, acquires or uses any actual or fictitious credit card, whether alone or together with names of credit cardholders, or other information pertaining to a credit card account in any form with unlawful or fraudulent intent.
Important Definitions Under This Law
“Credit card” has been expanded to mean any tangible or intangible instrument or device issued with or without fee by an issuer that can be used, alone or in connection with another means of account access in obtaining money, goods, services or anything else of value on credit including credit cards, credit plates, account numbers, or any other means of account access. The purpose of this change was to expand the definition of credit card to include account numbers or other means of account access.
“Expired credit card” means a credit card which is no longer valid because the term shown either on it or on documentation provided to the cardholder by the issuer has elapsed.
The issuer means the business organization or financial institution which issues a credit card or its duly authorized agent.
The “cardholder” is the person or organization named on the face of the credit card to whom or for whose benefit the card is issued by the issuer.
Penalties for Credit Card Fraud in NJ
For a third degree credit card fraud offense, the maximum fine is $15,000 and the jail term can reach five (5) years. For fourth degree credit card fraud, the jail term is up to eighteen (18) months and the fine is as high as $10,000.
Totowa New Jersey Credit Card Fraud Charges
All credit card fraud cases are heard at the Superior Court of Passaic County in Paterson NJ. The reason why this is the venue is because this is the location where all felony charges are handled in the county. If you are facing a third degree or fourth degree credit card charge or theft by deception, receiving stolen property, shoplifting, burglary or robbery, the lawyers on our defense team are available for free consultation 24/7 at 862-203-4070. An attorney is ready to help you immediately without obligation, we have been representing clients in Wayne, Clifton, Paterson, Wanaque, North Haledon, Hawthorne and Passaic City for over a decade.