Credit Card Fraud in Michigan: What You Need to Know

Representing Clients In Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee County, and all over the State of Michigan.

Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is a serious offense that can have significant legal consequences in Michigan. Imagine this scenario: You receive a credit card offer in the mail that was mistakenly addressed to you but intended for someone else. Without thinking much about it, you activate the card and use it for a few purchases. Unbeknownst to you, you have just committed credit card fraud. This is just one example of how easily someone can unknowingly find themselves facing credit card fraud charges in Michigan. 

If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s essential to seek dedicated legal representation to fight against these charges.

What is Credit and Debit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud, also known as financial transaction device fraud, occurs when someone unlawfully uses another person’s credit or debit card information to make unauthorized purchases or transactions. 

The term “financial transaction device” is often associated with ATMs or store card readers. However, according to Michigan law, it encompasses a broad range of items. These include electronic funds transfer cards, credit and debit cards, point-of-sale cards, and any other card, number, or device that permits access to a person’s financial account to obtain money, credit, goods, services, or anything else of value.

Credit card fraud can involve various fraudulent activities, such as:

  • Skimming: Using a device to capture credit or debit card information from unsuspecting individuals.
  • Phishing: Sending deceptive emails or messages to trick individuals into providing their credit card information.
  • Counterfeit Cards: Creating fake credit or debit cards using stolen card information.
  • Card Theft: Physically stealing someone’s credit or debit card to make unauthorized purchases.
  • Carding: Purchasing stolen credit card information on the dark web to make fraudulent transactions.

Michigan Credit Card Fraud Laws

Under the Michigan Penal Code (MPC), credit card fraud encompasses various actions, each carrying legal consequences:

  • MPC Section 750.157n: Stealing, knowingly taking, or removing a financial transaction device without consent and using or retaining it unlawfully constitutes a felony.
  • MPC Section 750.157p: Possessing or receiving another person’s financial transaction device with the intent to use, deliver, or sell it unlawfully is a felony.
  • MPC Section 750.157r: Forging, altering, simulating, or counterfeiting a financial transaction device with the intent to defraud is a felony.
  • MPC Section 750.157s: Knowingly using a revoked or canceled financial transaction device with the intent to defraud may result in misdemeanor or felony charges based on the individual’s criminal history and the value of money or services obtained.
  • MPC Section 750.157w: Using a financial transaction device to withdraw or transfer funds in violation of contractual limitations with the intent to defraud constitutes a misdemeanor or felony.

Penalties for Credit Card Fraud

Credit card and financial transaction device fraud is typically charged as a felony in Michigan, although misdemeanor charges may apply depending on various factors. Misdemeanor charges may be filed if the amount stolen is less than $1,000, while felony charges may apply for amounts exceeding $1,000.

For misdemeanor convictions, penalties may include up to 93 days in jail and fines of $500. Felony convictions may result in up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000 or three times the amount stolen. Additionally, restitution may be ordered, covering the stolen funds, the victim’s legal fees, and other associated costs, regardless of your ability to pay.

How Monetary Values Influence Charges

The value of the fraudulent transactions plays a significant role in determining the severity of the charges and potential penalties. For example, if the value of the fraudulent transactions exceeds a certain threshold, the offense may be charged as a felony, which carries harsher penalties than misdemeanor charges.

For economic crimes like fraud, embezzlement, or retail fraud, the prosecutor can choose to charge for each illegal transaction individually or may pursue a felony charge if the total amount from multiple transactions reaches $1,000.

Consequences Beyond Legal Penalties

Committing fraud also carries severe repercussions that extend beyond legal penalties. Your standing among peers and family may suffer, and may find it challenging to secure or keep a job. Additionally, obtaining affordable housing may prove difficult with a felony conviction. Professionals risk losing their licenses. The stain of financial crimes can tarnish your reputation, lessening your trustworthiness in the eyes of others.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Credit Card Fraud Investigations

Your life will undoubtedly be worse if you are found guilty of fraud in Michigan. If you are facing credit card fraud charges in Michigan, it’s crucial to have dedicated and experienced legal representation on your side. 

An experienced criminal defense attorney like Ashlee Duplessis can thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case, challenge the evidence against you, and advocate for your rights in court. We will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Credit card fraud is a serious offense that can have lasting consequences. Don’t let it affect the rest of your life. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and let us help you find the best path forward.