The court system in California considers credit card fraud to be an illegal act. Depending on the exact nature of the fraud, an individual could be charged under California Penal Code Section 484e, 484f, 484g, 484h, 484i & 484j: Credit Card Fraud.
The penalties for even small acts of credit card fraud can be very severe. Learn more about the differences between these charges and the potential impacts of a conviction with the help of the Simmrin Law Group.
Descriptions of the Credit Card Fraud Penal Codes
Los Angeles uses six different penal code subsections to prosecute acts of credit card theft. These codes include:
Penal Code Section 484e (PC 484e)
PC 484e covers the act of stealing another person’s:
- Credit Card
- Credit Card Information
Individuals who sell, acquire, transfer, or possess another person’s credit card information can be prosecuted under PC 484e.
Penal Code Section 484f (PC 484f)
PC 484f covers the act of forging credit card information. Individuals can be prosecuted for this act if they:
- Alter a Credit Card
- Counterfeit a Credit Card
- Forge a Signature on a Credit Card Receipt
Penal Code Section 484g (PC 484g)
Anyone who intentionally uses an invalid credit card to get goods or cash can be prosecuted under PC 484g, which covers fraudulent uses of a credit card.
Penal Code Section 484h (PC 484h)
Businesses can be charged under PC 484h. Any company that knowingly accepts payment from an invalid credit card can face this charge. Businesses that claim a false transaction occurred using fake evidence can also face PC 484h charges.
Penal Code Section 484i (PC 484i)
PC 484i deals specifically with credit card counterfeiting. Individuals face this charge if:
- They Create or Possess Counterfeit Credit Cards
- They Possess the Tools to Make Counterfeit Credit Cards
Penal Code Section 484j (PC 484j)
Individuals who publish the credit card information of others can be charged with PC 484j. PC 484j allows the court to punish people who share:
- PIN Numbers
- Private Account Information
Understanding Charges of Credit Card Fraud in Los Angeles
The courts in Los Angeles can treat credit card fraud as a misdemeanor or a felony in many cases. These charges are prosecuted very harshly, as they are considered a form of theft. In many cases, the charges are prosecuted with the following penal codes:
- California Penal Code Section 484(a) & 488: Petty Theft
- California Penal Code Section 487: Grand Theft
The exact penalties for credit card fraud vary depending on the amount of money stolen or defrauded. Generally, individuals will be charged with a misdemeanor – petty theft – if they steal or defraud someone for under $950. Acts of theft or fraud for more than $950 are typically charged as a felony – grand theft.
In some cases, as with PC 484f, individuals are charged with a misdemeanor if they possess a stolen credit card without using it. Using the stolen card increases the charges to a felony.
Charges that are treated as petty theft can be punished with:
- Jail Time: 6 Months
- Fines: Up to $1,000
Charges that are treated as grand theft can lead to the following penalties:
- Prison Time: 3 Years
- Fines: Decided by the Court
Credit Card Fraud and Legal Defenses
Credit card fraud accusations are severe. Convictions often lead to high fines and months or years of time spent behind bars. Fortunately, there are a few legal defenses that may apply in credit card fraud cases.
Sometimes, individuals accidentally use a credit card that is expired or no longer valid. These individuals are not intentionally trying to defraud anyone else. Unintentional acts are not considered credit card fraud in Los Angeles. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can explain additional defense options for credit card fraud cases.
Getting Help with Credit Card Fraud Charges in Los Angeles
The sheer number of charges used to prosecute credit card fraud can make understanding accusations related to California Penal Code Section 484e, 484f, 484g, 484h, 484i & 484j: Credit Card Fraud difficult. Fortunately, you can get professional answers about these charges from the Simmrin Law Group. Contact us today for a FREE consultation about accusations of credit card fraud.
You can call us at (310) 997- 4688 or complete our online contact form to get started.