David G. Moore Attorney At Law
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Credit card fraud: felony offense with harsh penalties


In our digital economy, where money can be earned and spent with the click of a mouse or the swipe of a card, physical currency is becoming somewhat obsolete. Though many may see this as a more efficient way to handle money, it raises a number of issues that can leave a Michigan resident facing felony criminal charges.

One of these criminal charges is credit card fraud. Michigan has many fraud laws on the books, and the majority of them are felonies that carry significant penalties upon conviction. What constitutes credit card fraud? This crime can be committed in a number of ways, but it most often manifests itself in two ways. One is when an individual illegally utilizes another's credit card to make purchases. The other is when an individual opens up a credit card in another individual's name for purposes of making purchases under that name.

In order to be convicted of this crime, a prosecutor must prove several elements. For example, it must be proven that an individual either knowingly stole or knowingly and illegally possessed a credit or debit card or, if the offense is more severe, that there was intent to use it for illegal purposes. Those accused of such crimes have the right to defend themselves, but this often requires knowledge of the law and how to utilize and object to evidentiary matters.

Failing to adequately defend one's self can lead to unwanted consequences that include prison time, heavy fines and irreparable damage to one's reputation. Fortunately, criminal defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty, meaning everyone has the chance to challenge the allegations against them. Before making a statement to the police, making a plea deal or taking a matter to trial, those accused of a criminal offense should think about discussing their options with a legal professional.

Source: FindLaw, "Michigan Credit Card Fraud Laws," accessed on Sept. 30, 2016

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