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Maryland Credit Card Fraud Laws

Because of the changes in technology, credit card fraud has resulted in numerous new laws regarding the unlawful use of credit (and even debit) cards. If you have been charged with fraud, you should contact a Maryland credit card fraud lawyer today, or read more about how a lawyer can help.

Credit Card Fraud: Sections 8-201 through 8-209

Maryland state laws prescribe harsh penalties to credit card fraud spanning from 90 days in jail for the most minor violations to up 15 years in prison for felony violations. Furthermore, the term “credit card” as used in these sections also covers any debit card, pre-paid card, and even certain kinds of gift cards. Section 8-201(c).

Fraudulently Procuring Issuance of Credit Card Section 8-203

It is illegal for an individual to make (or cause to be made) any false statement in writing concerning the identity of the individual or another person in order to procure the issuance of a credit card when the individual (1) knows the statement is false and (2) intends that the false statement be relied upon. Section 8-203(a).

If a person violates this section, that person is guilty of the misdemeanor fraud in procuring issuance of credit card punishable by up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-203(b).

Credit Card Theft Section 8-204

Although credit card theft sounds like it would fall under theft-related crimes, it is so closely tied with credit card fraud that it is also under Title 8 (Fraud and Related Crimes), Subtitle 2 (Credit Card Crimes). This section covers four distinct kinds of conduct that qualify as credit card theft.

First, under Section 8-204(a) it is illegal for a person to (1) take a credit card from another person, or from the control, custody, or possession of another person without the consent of the card holder, or to (2) receive a credit card with the intent to use it or sell it or transfer it to another person who is not the issuer or the cardholder while knowing that the credit card has been taken under the circumstances described in (1) above. Section 8-204(1).

Second, it is illegal for an individual to (1) receive a credit card the individual knows has been lost, misplaced, or delivered by mistake and (2) retain possession of the credit card (3) with the intent to sell, use, or transfer the credit card to another person who is not the issuer or cardholder. Section 8-204(b)(1).

Third, an individual is guilty of credit card theft if the individual (1) is not a credit card issuer and sells a credit card, or (2) buys a credit card from someone who is not a credit card issuer. Section 8-204(c).

Lastly, an individual (1) who is not the credit card issuer (2) cannot receive a credit card (3) that the person knows was taken or acquired under circumstances that constitute (4) credit card theft (as described above in this section) or fraudulently procuring a credit card (see Section 8-203 as described in the section above). Section 8-204(d).

If an individual violates any of these subsections the individual is guilty of the misdemeanor credit card theft, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of $500 or less. Section 8-204(e).

Credit Card Counterfeiting Section 8-205

There are certain terms used in this section that require explanation. “Falsely embossing” means completing a credit card (or making it functional) without the authorization of the issuer by adding anything other than the signature of the cardholder that is required to appear on the credit card for it to be used by a card holder. Section 8.205(a)(2).

“Falsely making” means to either (i) create an instrument or device, wholly or in part, that purports to be a credit card but is not because it lacks the issuer’s authorization, or (ii) to alter a credit card that was validly issued. Section 8-205(a)(3).

If a person (1) with the intent to defraud another individual (2) falsely makes, falsely embosses, or transfers or possesses a falsely made or embossed credit card, then the individual is guilty of credit card counterfeitingSection 8-205(b).

If an individual (1) with the intent to defraud another (2) signs a credit card without the authorization of the card holder (or someone authorized by the cardholder) then the individual is also guilty of credit card counterfeiting. Section 8-205(c).

If a person is guilty of the felony credit card counterfeiting, then the guilty party faces penalties of up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 8-205(d).

Obtaining Property by Counterfeiting, Theft, or Misrepresentation Section 8-206

This section covers the use of counterfeit and stolen credit cards, as well as the crime of misrepresenting oneself as the cardholder of a credit card without the consent of the credit card holder.

It is illegal for any individual (1) with the intent to defraud others and (2) for the purpose of acquiring money, services, goods, or anything of value, (3) to use a counterfeit or stolen credit card (regardless of whether the individual created the counterfeit credit card him- or herself, or merely knows the card is counterfeit). Section 8-206(a).

It is also illegal for any person (1) with the intent to defraud another (2) to acquire services, goods, money, or anything of value (3) by representing that the person is the holder of a credit card without the cardholder’s authorization, or by representing that the person is the holder of a credit card that has not, in fact, been issued. Section 8-206(b).

Penalties

If a person violates this section to acquire goods, money, services, or other things of value worth over $500, then that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 8-206(c)(1).

If an individual is guilty of violating this section to acquire over $100 but less than $500 of goods, money, services, or other things of value then that individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-206(c)(2).

If a guilty party acquires up to $100 of goods, money, services, or other things of value then that person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-206(c)(3).

Fraud by Honoring Stolen or Counterfeit Credit Cards Section 8-207

This section covers crimes committed by merchants who fraudulently honor stolen or counterfeit credit cards.

It is illegal for (1) any person (or that person’s agent or employee) who is authorized by a credit card issuer to furnish things of value (i.e., money, goods, services, etc.) when presented with a credit card by the cardholder, (2) with intent to defraud the credit card issuer or cardholder, (3) to furnish anything of value when presented with a stolen or counterfeit credit card OR to refuse to furnish the goods, services, money, or things of value to the someone presenting the card and then represent to the issuer in writing that the person did indeed furnish such things. Section 8-207(a).

If a person violates this section, he is guilty of credit card fraud and the penalties depend on the value of the goods furnished or not furnished. Section 8-207(b).

Penalties

If a person violates this section and the value of the things furnished or not furnished is more than $500, then that person is guilty of felony credit card fraud and faces up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 8-207(b)(1).

If a person violates this section and the value of the things furnished (or not furnished) is more than $100 but less than $500, then that person is guilty of misdemeanor credit card fraud and faces up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-207(b)(2).

If a person violates this section and the value of the things furnished (or not furnished) is less than $100, then that person is guilty of misdemeanor credit card fraud and faces up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-207(b)(3).

Completing Credit Card Without Consent; Possessing Contrivance To Do So

An “incomplete credit card” is a credit card that lacks some aspect (i.e., stamped, embossed, imprinted, or written matter) aside from the cardholder’s signature that the credit card issuer requires to appear on the card before it can be used by the cardholder. Section 8-208(a).

It is illegal for any individual (1) who is not the cardholder to (2) without the consent of the issuer (3) possess an incomplete credit card (4) with intent to complete the card. Section 8-208(b)(1).

It is also illegal for any person (1) to knowingly (2) possess plates, machinery, or any other kind of contrivance designed to create an instrument purporting to be a credit card (2) that an issuer has not consented to such preparation of the card. Section 8-208(b)(2).

If any person violates this section, that person is guilty of a felony and faces a felony conviction with up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 or less. Section 8-208(c).

Receiving Property by Stolen, Counterfeit, or Misrepresented Credit Card

It is also illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) receive money, goods, services, or anything of value (3) that was acquired by an individual using a stolen, counterfeit, or misrepresented credit card. Section 8-209(a).

If the person violates this section and receives over $500 worth of money, goods, services, or anything else of value, then that person is guilty of a felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 or less. Section 8-209(b)(1).

If a person violates this section and receives things of value worth more than $100 but less than $500, then that person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-209(b)(2).

If a person violates this section and receives things of value worth less than $100 then that person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-209(b)(3).

How a Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Can Help

Credit card fraud can arise from very small actions like swiping a credit card more than once. Nonetheless, the penalties can be severe. In addition, fraud is a crime which is very fact-intensive and requires proof of intent. If you have been charged with credit card fraud, please contact a Maryland credit card fraud attorney today.