What You Should Know About Credit Card Crimes in Virginia

Criminal offenses involving credit card theft, fraud, and forgery are serious felonies in Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The level of punishment varies by crime, but conduct which constitutes credit card theft, fraud, and forgery also often amounts to other felony crimes as well.

Accordingly, even if the police don't charge these other felony offenses, the prosecutor has the right to indict these other offenses once the case proceeds in court.

Accordingly, it's critical that anyone charged with credit card theft, fraud, or forgery speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Given the seriousness of these crimes, a proper defense requires a lawyer who has not only previously handled such cases, but also has the judgment, skill, and reputation to obtain the best possible resolution of the matter.

Credit Card Crimes: The Virginia Statutes

There are a number of criminal offenses covering fraudulent credit card conduct in Virginia, including:

  • 18.2-192: Credit card theft
  • 18.2-193: Credit card forgery
  • 18.2-194: Unauthorized possession of two or more signed credit cards or credit card numbers
  • 18.2-195: Credit card fraud; conspiracy
  • 18.2-195.1: Credit card factoring
  • 18.2-195.2: Fraudulent application for credit card
  • 18.2-196: Criminal possession of credit card forgery devices

What is Credit Card Theft (18.2-192)?

A person commits credit card theft or credit card number theft when he or she:

  • Takes, obtains, or withholds a credit card or credit card number from another person without the cardholder's consent.
  • Receives a credit card or credit card number of another person with intent to use it or sell it, or to transfer it to a third person.

Credit card theft can also occur when a person: (i) receives a credit card or credit card number that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered to the wrong address and, (ii) retains possession with intent to use, to sell, or to transfer the credit card or credit card number to a third person.

Va. Code 18.2-194 provides that when a person other than the cardholder possesses two or more credit cards which are signed or two or more credit card numbers, such possession shall be prima facie evidence that said cards or credit card numbers were obtained in violation of credit card theft Va. Code 18.2-192.

Credit card theft or credit card number theft is punishable as grand larceny. Therefore, the maximum jail sentence is 20 years in prison with the possibility of a fine of up to $2,500.

What is Credit Card Forgery (18.2-193)?

A person commits credit card forgery when he falsely makes or signs a credit card or uses such a credit card. Credit card forgery also occurs when a person forges a sales draft or cash advance/withdrawal draft. Of course, the person must know what he's doing and have fraudulent intent. A person cannot commit credit card forgery by accident—it must be intentional to be a crime. A conviction for credit card forgery is punishable as a Class 5 felony, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

What is Credit Card Fraud (18.2-195)?

A person commits credit card fraud when, with intent to defraud any person, he or she:

  • Uses a credit card or credit card number illegally obtained, or a credit card or credit card number which he or she knows is expired or revoked, for the purpose of obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value.
  • Obtains money, goods, services, or anything else of value by representing:  (i) that he or she is the holder of the stolen card or credit card number or (ii) that he or she is the holder of a card or credit card number and such card or credit card number has not in fact been issued.

Credit card fraud can also be committed by employees who:  (a) sell goods or services to another upon presentation of a credit card or credit card number which he or she knows is expired or revoked, (b) fail to provide the goods or services he or she represented were provided as the basis for the transaction, or (c) remit a transaction which is in excess of the monetary amount authorized by the cardholder.

Conviction of credit card fraud is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of all money, goods, services, and other things of value do not exceed $200 in any six-month period. A class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A conviction for credit card fraud is punishable as a Class 6 felony if such value exceeds $200 in any six-month period. A Class 6 felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

What Else Is Considered a Credit Card Crime in Virginia?

Some other credit card crimes include:

  • Credit card factoring (18.2-195.1)
  • Fraudulent application for credit card (18.2-195.2)
  • Criminal possession of credit card forgery devices (18.2-196)

If you have been arrested for any form of credit card theft, credit card fraud, or credit card forgery in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Alexandria, or elsewhere in Northern Virginia, contact Manikas Law, LLC by phone or email to schedule an appointment today to discuss your legal rights.