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When credit card fraud becomes federal and penalties

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense

A white-collar crime in Edwardsville, Illinois, is usually a nonviolent financial crime, committed by people in financial sectors. An example of white-collar crime is credit card fraud, which may be charged at the state or federal level.

Federal vs. state credit card fraud

Credit card fraud is the illegal use of another person’s credit card or debit card without permission. Every state has its own laws and various penalties for credit card fraud, but most cases are federal.

Federal charges commonly address fraud and ID theft that occurs in interstate and foreign commerce using an access device. Access devices include plate codes, mobile ID numbers, expired, lost, stolen, revoked, or canceled cards, and ATMs.

Federal credit card fraud includes charged charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, email fraud, and mail fraud. Intent is an important element in a credit card fraud case, meaning the offender needs to have knowingly and willingly intended to commit fraud. A person can also get charged with the intent to commit fraud under state and federal law, even if the actions weren’t completed.


If U.S.C. code 1029 is violated, it carries a 10 to 15-year prison term and up to a $250,000 fine. Under 1029, charges include:

  • Having 15 or more counterfeit access devices
  • Equipment to produce devices
  • Making $1,000 in purchases within one year of devices

Illinois has a penalty of one to three years in jail, and periodic imprisonment, which includes release periods. If the value of the stolen good is less than $150, the penalties are up to two years of periodic imprisonment. Penalties may also include conditional release, probation, and up to $2,500 in fines per offense, restitution, or both.

While penalties are stiff, the accused party may use some valid defenses, such as they lacked the intent to defraud. The prosecution must prove the defendant committed the crime willfully, but the defense can cast doubt.