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A Guide to Credit Card Fraud Laws in Wisconsin

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“Credit card fraud” is an umbrella term used to describe any number of deceitful activities one might engage in concerning credit card usage. It’s a persistent and costly problem, resulting in billions of dollars in losses to American companies each year.

While Wisconsin doesn’t have any legal guidelines specifically criminalizing credit card fraud, there are numerous laws on the books that penalize fraudulent practices.

Four Common Anti-Fraud Criminal Laws

Depending on the circumstances, one or more criminal laws may apply to punish someone who has engaged in fraud using a credit card. Here are four of the most commonly invoked laws.

1. Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card

This crime occurs when a person uses a fraudulent or invalid card, or one that belongs to someone else. The perpetrator doesn’t necessarily need to be the one who forged the card or stole it from the owner — it’s sufficient for the prosecutor to show that there was reason to believe the card was either fake or belonged to someone else.

2. Theft

There are two main scenarios in which a charge of theft could be brought.

If someone stole the credit card from its rightful owner, they committed theft by taking property that wasn’t theirs. Alternatively, if someone receives a stolen card from someone else, the recipient could still be charged with theft for accepting the stolen card.

3. Making a False Statement

All credit card companies require users to complete an application before being issued a card. This application requests information about the applicant’s identity and income so the credit card company can make an informed decision about whether to extend them credit.

Falsifying any such information and submitting it to the credit card company with the intention of deceiving it into issuing you credit can be considered a form of credit card fraud.

4. Forgery

A person commits forgery as it relates to credit cards when they create a fake card and attempt to use it to defraud others. The crime lies in knowingly passing around a fraudulent financial product as if it were real and using it to make illegal purchases.

Penalties for Credit Card-Related Fraud

The severity of the penalties for the crimes listed here may depend on the total loss a business or individual victim experiences.

At the low end of the scale, a perpetrator could face up to nine months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. If the losses to the victims exceeded $25,000, the crime could be upgraded to a Class G felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

Don’t Face Fraud Allegations Alone

Defending yourself against allegations of credit card fraud can be challenging. As such, it will benefit you to seek legal help from an experienced Wisconsin white-collar crime defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Maciolek Law Group today to get the support you need to challenge the charges against you.

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