So many people are using credit cards for all their transactions that credit and debit card fraud is becoming more and more common. To combat the rise, law enforcement officials are getting more aggressive with how they go after suspected fraudsters and prosecute them.
If you are facing credit card fraud charges in Minnesota, it is important that you understand what the law says and what potential defenses you can use in this post.
Prohibited Credit Card Activities in Minnesota
The following actions are prohibited under Minnesota law.
- Using a credit card or debit card without the consent of the cardholder to obtain any item or service of value
- Using a public assistance benefit card that has been issued to another individual for SNAP, WIC, food stamps, Medicaid, Medical Assistance, General Assistance, or other welfare benefits
- Attempted use or use of a false or forged credit or debit card
- Giving or selling a credit or debit card without permission from the cardholder or issuer
- Possessing or receiving two or more credit or debit cards that are forged, false, or in someone else’s name, with the intent to sell or use them
- Knowingly providing false information when applying for a credit or debit card
- Knowingly providing false statements or representation when applying for public assistance benefits
- Falsely informing a card issuer that the card has been stolen or lost, with intent to commit fraud
- Falsely signing or altering a document about a credit card transaction to obtain or attempt to obtain any item or service of value
- Knowingly providing items or services to an unauthorized user of a card, or providing items or services to someone who uses a forged, revoked, or expired credit or debit card
- Informing the issuer in writing that a service or item of value was provided when it was not
Minnesota Penalties for Credit or Debit Card Fraud
Penalties are based on the value of the items or services that were obtained through fraudulent use. Transactions within a six-month period will be combined as a single charge.
A conviction for transactions valued under $250 will result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.
A conviction for transactions valued between $250 and $2,500 will result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
A conviction for transactions valued between $2,500 and $35,000 will result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
A conviction for transactions with a value of over $35,000 will result in up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Unlawful use of a public assistance benefit card is punished according to the above guidelines.
If the defendant has prior convictions for theft, forgery, receiving stolen property, check fraud, robbery, or burglary within the past five years, the penalties will be enhanced.
A conviction for selling a card or unlawfully possessing two or more cards will result in up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Defenses to Minnesota Charges of Credit Card Fraud
If you are facing credit card fraud charges in our state, it’s essential for you to contact a skilled Minnesota criminal defense attorney as soon as charges are filed. The sooner you call, the sooner your lawyer can start building a strong defense to the charges you face that is designed to get your charges reduced or dropped.
Here are several defenses that may work in your case:
Lack of knowledge
You may have used a card that you believed to be valid.
Lack of evidence
Unless the evidence suggests that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted.
Lack of criminal intent
Fraud and theft convictions are dependent on intent. If your attorney can prove that you had no intent to commit a crime, your charges may be dropped.
Perhaps you made a false statement, but it was not intended to defraud. A false statement does not equal a conviction.
Someone may have threatened harm to you or your family unless you committed credit card fraud.
If a government official forced you to commit credit card fraud against your will, this defense may work.
If you have mental issues that prohibit you from making sound decisions, you may be able to use this defense.
Since the penalties for a credit card fraud conviction can be serious and life altering, you must enlist the help of a skilled Minnesota criminal attorney with a track record of success to fight your charges. Get in touch today for your free case review.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).