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Credit and debit card fraud penalties

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2021 | Criminal defense

Credit and debit cards make it convenient for Tennessee residents to make daily purchases without carrying cash. But it should come as no surprise that the increase in usage comes with a corresponding increase in credit card fraud. As a result, there are a set of laws that are meant to deter fraudulent behavior.

Credit and debit card fraud defined

It is illegal in Tennessee for anyone to possess a credit or debit card not belonging to them without the owner’s consent. It is also against the law for individuals to use a credit or debit card to make fraudulent purchases.

Misdemeanor credit and debit card fraud

Fraudulent card purchases valued at less than $500 will earn the user a Class A misdemeanor charge. The same is true for illegal possession of another person’s credit or debit card without a purchase.

Felony credit and debit card fraud

Individuals accused of credit and debit card fraud involving more than $500 will need to mount a criminal defense against felony charges. A Class E felony charge applies when the purchase value ranges from $500 to $1,000. A conviction can cost a defendant from one to six years in prison and as much as a $3,000 fine.

Credit and debit card fraud can result in Class D felony charges for fraudulent purchases worth more than $1,000 but less than $10,000. Two to 12-year prison terms and a maximum $5,000 fine apply to Class D felonies.

Class C felony charges become applicable for fraud that crosses the $10,000 threshold but remains below $60,000. Class C felonies carry a three to a 15-year prison term and a possible $10,000 fine.

Class B felony charges cover all credit and debit card fraud cases that involve more than $60,000. The minimum prison term for this crime is eight years. The maximum number of years a defendant can spend in jail is 30. A Class B felony conviction will also trigger a fine of up to $25,000.

Individuals accused of fraud in Tennessee will need to take action to protect themselves from legal consequences. A criminal defense attorney may prove helpful in countering these allegations.