There is no charge in the New York Penal law titled Credit Card Fraud. Rather, New York Credit Card Fraud can be prosecuted under a number of different criminal statutes. Specifically, New York Credit Card Fraud can be prosecuted as:

  • Grand Larceny,
  • Criminal Impersonation,
  • Scheme to Defraud,
  • Identity Theft,
  • Forgery,
  • Criminal Possession of Forged Instrument, AND
  • Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification.

Which of these crimes you are charged with and plead guilty to or go to trial on, greatly depends on the type of credit card fraud that you are accused of. Are you opening up accounts under false identities? Are you making fake credit cards involving a press and a magnetic scanner? These different credit card charges are explained in greater detail below.

Grand Larceny

New York Grand Larceny charges involve unlawfully taking the property of another, the value of which is over $1,000. Grand Larceny is charged in cases involving New York Credit Card Fraud when money is unlawfully obtained through a credit card. It doesn’t matter if the victim is a bank, or another individual. There are four different degrees of Grand Larceny under New York law:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree – value of property over $1,000,000 (PL 155.42)
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree – value of property over $50,000 (PL 155.40)
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree – value of property over $3,000 (PL 155.35)
  • Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree – value of property over $1,000 (PL 155.30)

The difference in degrees depends on the value of the property wrongfully obtained. Additionally, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree can be charged in situations where the property wrongfully obtained is a credit card. It doesn’t matter if anything of value is wrongfully obtained, so long as the item is a credit card.

New York Credit Card Fraud charged as a Grand Larceny

Grand Larceny charges involving New York credit card fraud can be brought in any of these situations;

  • Stealing the credit card of another. It doesn’t matter if the card is stolen from the person’s bag on the train, or if it involves a more elaborate scheme. Such as contacting the bank, claiming to be an authorized account holder and requesting a replacement card sent to a different address.
  • Creating synthetic identities, opening up credit card accounts and causing a loss to the bank of over $1,000. (in the event the value of the property obtained is under $1,000, the appropriate charge will be Petit Larceny).
  • Ultimately, any loss to the bank or another individual that resulted from unlawful taking is New York credit card fraud. Depending on the value of the property unlawfully obtained, the charge will be a Grand Larceny or a Petit Larceny.

Sentencing and Penalties for New York Credit Card Fraud as a Grand Larceny

Under New York law, Grand Larceny charges are punishable by probation or a conditional discharge on the low end (minimum for Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree) and up to 25 years on the high end (maximum for Grand Larceny in the First Degree).

Criminal Impersonation

New York Criminal Impersonation charges involve pretending to be another individual, or assuming identity of another with intent to obtain a benefit or injure another. There is absolutely no requirement that the impersonator be successful in obtaining a benefit or causing an injury to another. The intent alone is sufficient. Although there are two different Criminal Impersonation charges in the New York Penal Law, only Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law Section 190.25 applies.

New York Credit Card Fraud Charged as Criminal Impersonation

A number of different fact patters can result in New York Credit Card Fraud being charged as Criminal Impersonation. Any time you assume the identity of another you with intent to obtain a benefit from this assumed identity, you can be charged with New York Criminal Impersonation.

For example, contacting the bank, pretending to be another individual and asking that a new credit card be mailed to you with intent to use that card to make unauthorized purchases can result in criminal impersonation charges. Making transactions in someone else’s account with the intent to transfer the money elsewhere, without the permission of the owner is New York Criminal Impersonation. Engaging in business email compromise, pretending to be the CEO of the company and asking the money from the company account to be sent elsewhere is New York Criminal Impersonation.

Sentencing and Penalties for New York Credit Card Fraud as Criminal Impersonation

Under New York Law, Criminal Impersonation is a Class “A” Misdemeanor. As such, this particular charge is punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail,
  • Probation,
  • Conditional discharge (with conditions set by the sentencing court),
  • Unconditional discharge (no conditions set by the sentencing court),
  • Time served (even if just a few hours).

Scheme to Defraud

Under New York law, Schemes to Defraud involve ongoing systematic conduct with intent to defraud multiple individuals. There are two different scheme to defraud charges in the New York Penal law:

Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree requires that the scheme be designed to defraud more than one person. On the other hand, scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, requires either that:

  • The scheme be designed to defraud 10 or more people, OR
  • Over $3,000 is obtained from the scheme.

New York Credit Card Fraud Charged as Scheme to Defraud

New York Credit Card Fraud is charged as a Scheme to Defraud in all situations in which the prosecutor can prove ongoing systematic fraudulent conduct. Some examples of credit card schemes to defraud include:

  • Running a large scale operation involving creation of fake IDs and credit cards,
  • Account Take Over email scheme, which involves sending an email that appears to be from a bank and the individual logging into their bank/credit card account, which is in fact a fake account.

Sentencing and Penalties for New York Scheme to Defraud

New York Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree is a a Class “E” Non-Violent felony. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • An indeterminate sentence sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years,
  • A determinate sentence up to 1 year,
  • A split sentence (up to 6 months jail, rest of the time on probation),
  • Probation,
  • Conditional discharge (with the sentencing court imposing the conditions of sentencing).

New York Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree is a Class “A” Misdemeanor. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in prison,
  • Probation,
  • Conditional Discharge (with conditions imposed by the sentencing court),
  • Unconditional Discharge (no conditions imposed by the sentencing court),
  • Time served.

Identity Theft

New York Credit Card fraud is charged as Identity Theft, in situations where an individual assumes the identity of another with intent to defraud. Under New York Law, there are three different degrees of Identity Theft:

The difference in these charges depends on the value of the items wrongfully obtained under another person’s identity. The breakdown for these charges is;

  • New York Identity Theft in the First Degree (over $2,000),
  • New York Identity Theft in the Second Degree (over $500)
  • New York Identity Theft in the Third Degree (no minimum $ amount)

New York Credit Card Fraud Charged as Identity Theft

New York Credit Card Fraud is charged as Identity Theft in any situation in which the identity of another is assumed and there is intent to deceive or defraud another. Any sort of impersonation of another individual in opening credit cards, or requesting replacement cards, or pretending to be the authorized account holder may result in Identity Theft charges.

Sentencing for New York Identity Theft Charges

The sentencing exposure depends on the degree go New York Identity Theft charged. Specifically:

  • Identity Theft in the First Degree is punishable by up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison;
  • Identity Theft in the Second Degree is punishable by up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison; AND
  • Identity Theft in the Third Degree is punishable by up to 1 year in prison.

Forgery

Under New York Law, forgery involves altering a written instrument with intent to deceive, defraud or injure another. There are three different degrees of Forgery under New York law:

Only Forgery in the Second Degree and Forgery in the Third Degree can be charged in cases of New York Credit Card Fraud. Forgery in the First Degree cannot be charged for money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or governmental instrumentality.

New York Forgery in the Second Degree requires that the forged instrument be a credit card or a debit card, or a written document issued by a public office or a government entity (such as a drivers license issued by the DMV, or a passport being issued by U.S. Department of State). New York Forgery in the Third Degree does not have that specific requirement that the document is a credit or a debit card, or issued by a public office. The sole requirement is that the document be a written document.

New York Credit Card Fraud Charged as Forgery

New York Credit Card Fraud is charged as Forgery in situations where a fraudulent written instrument is created. Common examples of forged items in credit card cases include drivers licenses, passports, other forms of photo ID or credit or debit cards.

Sentencing and Penalties for New York Forgery

The sentencing range for New York Forgery charges depend on the degree of forgery charged. The sentencing range for each forgery charge is;

  • Forgery in the First Degree – indeterminate sentence up to 5 to 15 years,
  • Forgery in the Second Degree – indeterminate sentence up to 2 1/3 to 7 years, AND
  • Forgery in the Third Degree – indeterminate sentence up to 1 1/3 to 4 years.

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

New York Credit Card Fraud is charged as Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument when an individual possesses a forged instrument with intent to deceive or injure another. There are three different degrees of possession of Forged Instrument. Specifically, they are:

  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree (PL Section 170.30),
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (PL Section 170.25), AND
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree (PL Section 170.20).

New York Credit Card Fraud Charged as Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

This charge is frequently charged in situations where an individual possesses an object that purports to be a genuine card or a photo ID, but actually is not.

Contact Top Rated New York Credit Card Fraud Attorneys

If you or your loved one has been charged with New York Credit Card Fraud, you need experienced counsel by your side. Frequently, these investigations are very document intensive and require a lot of attorney time and attention. Schedule your consultation today.