Act immediately if you are under investigation or arrest for any credit card fraud-related charge. Credit card fraud is one of the many white-collar criminal offenses and among the most common. Depending on whether a person is charged in state or federal court, and the amount of the fraud, there are minimum mandatory sentences and hefty fines associated with these offenses.
Credit Card Fraud
If any representative from the credit card company, police officer, or agent contacts you about a potentially fraudulent transaction or a scheme to defraud, contact Brian Kirlew, Esq. He is one of Miami’s most experienced and competent white-collar criminal attorneys.
Our Miami credit card fraud defense team can help you avoid spending time behind bars or a lengthy probationary period. At the Kirlew Law Firm, we strategically defend clients in complex and sensitive white-collar crime matters, including credit card fraud. We offer a free phone consultation to help you plan a proactive and aggressive defense strategy that will protect your rights
What is Credit Card Fraud in Florida?
Under Florida Law, credit card fraud occurs when a person uses, sells, or purchases stolen, forged, or unlawfully obtained credit cards or poses as the actual cardholder to make unauthorized purchases or take out cash advances against the account. Counterfeiting or altering credit cards and using expired or revoked credit cards are also considered credit card fraud.
Florida laws define “credit cards” to include ATM cards, check cards, credit cards, banking cards, debit cards, and any other card type that can be used for financial transactions.
Like most white-collar crimes, credit card fraud cases in Florida involve deception, concealment, and theft and do not rely on the threat of physical force or violence.
Credit Card Fraud Penalties and Consequences in Florida
Criminal penalties for offenses related to credit card fraud in Florida are governed by the State Credit Card Crime Act, as codified in F.S. § 817.57 – 817.685. Under this act, credit card fraud offenses are filed as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the value of the obtained funds or goods.
Note: Credit card fraud is uniquely pursued through “aggregate prosecution.” This means that a credit card’s multiple fraudulent uses are treated as a single crime rather than numerous discrete crimes within six months. This prosecution strategy can result in a person facing a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
It is a first-degree misdemeanor if the credit card was fraudulently used less than two times within a six-month time frame or the value of the goods, services, or money obtained is less than $100. A first-degree misdemeanor in Florida is punishable by up to one year in jail and one year of probation, and a $1,000 fine.
If, during a six-month time frame, the fraudulent credit card use occurred more than two times or the goods, services, or money obtained is valued at more than $100, this will be considered a Felony Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. This is a third-degree felony in Florida and is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
Individuals who are accused of using the personal information of 30 or more individuals in a scheme to obtain credit cards will face a first-degree felony count of Fraudulently Using the Identification or Information of another. This charge carries a 10-year minimum mandatory sentence.
Credit card fraud cases are prosecuted in federal court as well state court. The penalties for violating federal law can be more severe than those allowed under Florida state law. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1029, producing, using, or trafficking in unauthorized “access devices,” including credit cards and debit cards, is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal Court is also more likely to seek forfeiture of your assets than state court.
You Need to Act Quickly to Defend Your Rights. Contact Our Miami Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorneys Now!
Facing credit card fraud investigations or charges should not be taken lightly. Depending on the severity of the offense, a credit card’s fraudulent use can result in lengthy prison time and hefty fines. Not to mention that law
enforcement agents and prosecutors begin to gather evidence when they suspect criminal activity. Usually, these investigations are ongoing for months and years before a person even knows that they are suspected of committing a crime.
It’s critical to contact our Miami white-collar criminal defense attorney when you suspect you are the target of a credit card fraud criminal investigation. Anything that seems suspicious, a car that might be following you, phone calls from unknown numbers, or DMs on social media for strange people can be law enforcement seeking to gather additional information.
At the Kirlew Law Firm, we have over a decade of legal experience handling all types of white-collar defense cases in Miami and greater South Florida. Our experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive Miami credit card fraud defense attorney can effectively intervene in the investigation and quickly gather the information necessary to protect your rights and hopefully keep you out of prison. Brian Kirlew, Esq. has represented hundreds of people in Miami charged with credit card fraud offenses and has an impressive track record of getting charges dismissed, reduced, and resolutions that involve no jail or prison time.
When you retain our white-collar criminal defense services, you can count on the support and strength with experience. Our Miami criminal defense attorneys have a proven track record of getting results in and out of the courtroom.
Antitrust laws were established to protect trade and commerce from abusive practices. Violations can include price-fixing, price discrimination, restraints, and monopolization.
This form of white-collar crime is increasingly common as more people use computers, phones, and other internet-enabled devices to commit acts of fraud, hacking, extortion, and theft.
Thieves take personal information to access banking and financial accounts, make purchases, open utility accounts, or steal tax refunds. In some cases, an identity thief may even use a false identity during an arrest.
This white-collar crime occurs when a thrift utilizes a stolen credit card or other information from that account to make unauthorized purchases. In some cases, they may use the stolen information to take out cash advances against the account.
The illicit selling of fake goods or services over the phone. Many phone scams are framed as a giveaway, or free offer in exchange for sensitive information, like access to banking or credit card accounts.
Often paired with another form of fraud, bankruptcy fraud can be the concealment of assets to prevent forfeiting them, filing incomplete or false forms, filing multiple times in different locations using fake or forged documents, and bribing of court-appointed trustees.
Largely committed by organized crime groups, this form of fraud includes performing unnecessary procedures to bill an insurance company, billing for services that were never rendered, and billing every step of one procedure as if they were individual procedures.
Environmental law makes actions like the illegal disposal of waste, improper storage of hazardous materials, or failure to comply with EPA and state regulations illegal.
An act committed to defraud an insurance company is considered a white-collar crime. This could include attempting to obtain benefits or advantages that an individual is not entitled to or when an insurer denies benefits that someone is due.
One of the most common forms of fraud, mail fraud is when the USPS or private carrier is used to commit a crime of deceit. This could be to obtain money or to sell and distribute illicit goods.
These forms of fraud start with a scheme to steal or obtain financial information by using false representation or promises of goods and services in return.
Crimes committed through extortion and coercion are considered racketeering. Generally, a racketeer obtains money or goods from someone using intimidation tactics or force.
Largely connected to federal government contracting or federally-funded programs, government fraud might involve public housing, agricultural programs, corporate subsidies, and bribery.
This form of white-collar crime is the deliberate failure to pay your taxes or the underpayment of the taxes you owe. It can be underreporting of income, overreporting of deductions, or improperly claiming tax credits and exemptions.
Also called investment fraud, securities fraud involves misrepresenting the information that investors use to make financial decisions.
This is the trading of the stock or securities of a public company that is based on non-public information about the company. This is the profiteering of information based on a company’s assets.
A bribe is the giving or receiving of something of value in order to influence the actions of another person or group.
The major focus of the FBI, public corruption covers a variety of crimes, including the violation of federal law by public officials, fraud related to the procurement, contracts, and funding of federal programs, and other crimes that are related to local, state, and federal governments.
By withholding assets, funds, or goods from an employer or business partner, you are committing an act of embezzlement.
Generally sponsored by foreign entities or outside corporations, economic espionage can target the U.S. government, U.S. companies, or other establishments and institutions. Economic espionage is the unlawful obtaining of financial information
Trade secrets are the information or assets that give a company an advantage over others in the market. The theft of these assets is when someone uses this information without consent of the business.
In addition to State White Collar crime, we also represent clients charged with Federal White Collar crimes,
How are White Collar Crimes Investigated?
In almost every federal white-collar criminal investigation, the federal agents and local police officers involved in the case shadow their suspects for months and even years. They utilize wiretaps, subpoenaed bank records, videotape conversations and meetings, property and assets, business records, and cooperating witnesses. The agents often seek to make pre-indictment deals with codefendants or coworkers who they threaten to charge if they don’t talk.
The feds have unlimited resources and they are extremely patient in their investigations. Many times, an agent will get so committed to an investigation that they bend the rules, alleged they witnessed activity that they didn’t and innocent people get wrapped up in the conspiracy that they knew nothing about. This is why it is critical to contact a Miami white-collar attorney the moment you suspect you are the target of a white-collar criminal investigation. With the help of our investigators and forensic accountants, we can often mitigate the exposure a client may face in a white collar criminal prosecution.
What is White-Collar Crime?
Generally, white-collar crime is investigated and prosecuted by federal authorities. This means that white-collar crime cases have higher conviction rates than other crimes. Federal prosecutors are able to leverage more resources to pursue a white-collar crime case and are encouraged to close the case quickly.
The punishment for a white-collar crime varies based on what level the crime is being prosecuted at, whether state or federal, and the amount of money involved in the crime. There are no set guidelines that dictate the severity of penalty based on the amount of money stolen; however, generally, larger amounts are punished more severely.
Since the 2002 and 2008 financial crises, there have been more penalties and convictions for white-collar crimes, and as such, penalties have become more severe. On average, a sentence for money laundering is about 48 months in prison. Those convicted of bribery could face 16 months, and those for fraud, 12 months. Tax offenses generally result in 16 months of jail time. And if there are more than five victims, the loss amount is in the millions as opposed to the thousands or the accused qualifies for a host of other enhancements, these penalties can be significantly higher.
When You Should Hire an Attorney When Convicted of a White Collar Crime?
Given the harsh nature of the penalties for white-collar crimes and that federal authorities often lead these investigations, you must hire an attorney in Miami as soon as you’re convicted. In some cases, defendants are only aware of the investigation just a few weeks or months before an arrest is made. It’s important to use any lead time you may have to build a case with an attorney.
While your attorney can’t stop an investigation, they can work with you to defend your rights before, during, and after the trial. If nothing else, you must have a legal representative with you whenever you deal with a federal investigator or while you’re being questioned.
Why You Need a Competent Attorney
When you work with a skilled criminal defense attorney like those at the Kirlew Law Firm, they’ll maintain clear lines of communication with the prosecution throughout your investigation. This could lead to a favorable negotiation before any arrests are made, or the formal prosecution starts.
More than just negotiations, a competent white-collar crime attorney can help draft legal defenses that can help your case. Our attorneys can cross-examine witnesses, manage information about the case, and challenge physical exhibits and financial records that may be used to seal your case. Ultimately, a talented attorney like Brian Kirlew can find small inconsistencies or faults in the prosecution to bolster your defense.
Contact a Miami White Collar Criminal Attorney today!
If you are being investigated for a White Collar crime at the state or federal level (or both), the sooner you get a qualified attorney on your side to protect your rights, the better. Brian Kirlew, Esq. is experienced and skilled at handling these complex and sensitive matters, and is here to represent you in court. Our criminal defense attorneys in Miami are proud to offer you a free phone consultation to ensure that we can best serve you. Contact us immediately to get started.