Credit Card Fraud Charges

In today's digital age, credit card fraud is an increasingly prevalent issue that affects countless individuals and businesses.


It's not just a matter of unauthorized charges—credit card fraud can lead to significant financial loss, damage to credit scores, and even identity theft. The legal implications are profound, with state and federal laws, such as 18 U.S.C. § 1029, outlining stringent penalties for these offenses.


Facing charges related to credit card fraud is a serious matter, and having a skilled and experienced defense attorney by your side can significantly impact the outcome of your case. With Josh Kolsrud as your advocate, you can have confidence that you will receive the necessary guidance and support to navigate the intricacies of your charges.

Josh Kolsrud possesses an extensive background and expertise in defending against credit card fraud charges. With over 14 years of experience as a state, international, and federal prosecutor, he has successfully litigated numerous cases to verdict. His proven track record defines his dedication of tirelessly defending his client's rights and interests throughout the legal process.


At our firm, we understand the complexities of federal laws surrounding credit card fraud. We are committed to providing expert guidance essential for building a winning defense. From helping you thoroughly comprehend the charges against you to negotiating with the prosecution, Josh Kolsrud and his team will stand with you every step of the way, ensuring your rights are safeguarded.


Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case and learn how we can provide the assistance and support you need.

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Understanding Credit Card Fraud Under 18 U.S.C. § 1029 vs 15 USC 1644 Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

Credit card fraud encompasses a range of criminal activities; all centered around the unauthorized use of a credit card or its information to fraudulently obtain money or property.


It's a federal crime, outlined by 18 U.S.C. § 1029, which makes it illegal to knowingly and with intent to defraud, produce, use, or traffic in counterfeit access devices, such as credit cards.


Understanding the Context of 18 U.S.C. § 1029

Understanding the context of 18 U.S.C. § 1029 is critical. It states that anyone who knowingly participates in fraudulent activities involving one or more unauthorized access devices (credit cards, in this case) and obtains anything of value totaling $1,000 or more during a one-year period could face significant penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines.

credit card fraud

The Legal Definition of Credit Card Fraud in Arizona

Arizona Revised Statutes Related to Credit Card Fraud

In Arizona, credit card fraud is generally governed by Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 13-2105 and 13-2106.


ARS 13-2105 prohibits the fraudulent use of a credit card to obtain any money, goods, or property, while ARS 13-2106 outlaws the possession of any machinery, plates, or any other contrivance designed to produce fraudulent credit cards.


Comparing Federal and Arizona State Laws

Credit card fraud falls under federal and state jurisdiction, and the specifics of the crime determine which laws apply. The federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 1029, typically applies when the fraudulent activity crosses state lines or involves large-scale operations. On the other hand, Arizona state laws, like ARS 13-2105 and ARS 13-2106, apply to crimes committed within the state's boundaries.


The main difference between the two lies in the severity of the penalties. Federal crimes often carry heavier sentences and fines, reflecting the typically more comprehensive scope and impact of these crimes.

types of credit card fraud

Common Types of Credit Card Fraud

Counterfeit Cards and Fraudulent Applications

One of the most common types of credit card fraud involves counterfeit cards and fraudulent applications. Counterfeit card fraud occurs when a criminal produces a fake card with stolen information.


On the other hand, fraudulent application fraud happens when a criminal uses stolen or fictitious personal information to open a new credit card account.


Account Takeovers and Identity Theft

Account takeover is another form of credit card fraud. Here, the accused accesses a victim's legitimate credit card account and makes unauthorized purchases.


This type of fraud often ties into identity theft, where the accused uses the victim's personal information for financial gain.

Penalties for Credit Card Fraud Under Federal Law

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1029, those convicted of credit card fraud can face severe penalties. The specific sentencing depends on the details of the crime, but it can range from fines to imprisonment of up to 10 to 20 years. 


Besides imprisonment, other penalties under federal law may include fines of up to $250,000. The court can also order restitution, requiring the offender to compensate the victims for their financial losses.

Arizona Penalties for Credit Card Fraud

Under Arizona law, credit card fraud is usually charged as a class 5 felony, depending on the case's specifics.


Penalties can include imprisonment, with a sentence ranging from six months to two and a half years for a first offense. Fines and a potential order for restitution to the victims can also be imposed.

legal defenses to credit card fraud

Building a Defense Against Credit Card Fraud Charges

If you face charges for violating U.S.C. § 1029, our seasoned federal criminal defense attorneys can employ various tactics to strive for the most favorable result. An initial examination of all case specifics is crucial to formulate an appropriate plan.


Below are some common defenses used:


  • Missing Intent to Defraud
    Should you have performed an unauthorized act covered under U.S.C. § 1029 without a clear intent to defraud, you may be well-positioned to evade conviction. A scenario might be receiving stolen gift cards unknowingly and using them. To secure a conviction, the federal prosecutor must prove that your actions were conscious and deliberate and aimed at deceit.


  • No Impact on Interstate or International Trade
    A conviction for federal credit card fraud necessitates a link to interstate or international trade. For instance, you may be accused of online shopping with someone else's card, but the online retailer is in your home state. While you might face state-level charges, it may not qualify as a federal crime since the transaction did not cross state boundaries.


  • Justifiable Consent
    A viable argument could be that you reasonably believed you had consent to use the credit card. Consider a situation where you were only entrusted with a credit card for emergencies. You might have used the card without proper communication with the cardholder, leading them to believe it was fraudulent.

If you are under investigation or have already been charged with U.S.C. § 1029 federal credit card fraud, contact our federal criminal defense attorneys to review your case details and explore potential strategies.

The Future of Credit Card Fraud

As technology advances, so too do the methods used. Emerging trends include using artificial intelligence and machine learning for fraudulent purposes, the growth of online shopping fraud, and the rise of "synthetic identity fraud,"—where a mix of factual and fabricated information is used to create entirely new identities.


The Impact of Technology on Fraud Prevention

On the flip side, technology also offers potent tools for fraud prevention. Machine learning algorithms can detect unusual patterns in transaction data, while biometric and two-factor authentication (2FA) offers higher security than traditional passwords. The fight against credit card fraud will likely involve a constant race between these opposing forces.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Credit Card Fraud Cases

An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can be invaluable when facing credit card fraud charges.


They can help navigate the complexities of the legal system, scrutinize the prosecution's case for weaknesses, and work tirelessly to protect your rights.


Furthermore, they can negotiate plea bargains, reduce potential penalties, and sometimes get charges dismissed entirely.

The Role of Kolsrud Law Offices in Defending Fraud Charges

At Kolsrud Law Offices, we bring extensive experience and a deep understanding of both federal and Arizona laws related to credit card fraud.


We're committed to providing a solid defense for our clients and ensuring they're treated fairly throughout the legal process, and to achieve the best possible outcome.


Don't hesitate to reach out if you or a loved one is facing credit card fraud charges. We're here to help.


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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006

Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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