Being charged with access device fraud in Pennsylvania can be a difficult experience to navigate, especially when you are trying to find the right criminal defense lawyer. This type of crime is considered a serious offense and can result in penalties such as jail time, fines, restitution payments, probation, community service, and more.
This blog will explore criminal charges of access device fraud in Pennsylvania. We will discuss what constitutes access device fraud and how it is charged under Pennsylvania law. Additionally, we will look at the potential penalties associated with a conviction for this type of offense. And if you have been charged with this crime and need a lawyer on your side, we can help. Get in touch with us today to discuss your case.
What Is Access Device Fraud?
In Pennsylvania, access device fraud is defined as using an access device to obtain goods or services that the device owner does not authorize. This crime can also refer to possessing such devices with the intention of unlawful use for fraudulent purposes.
What Is Considered an Access Device in Pennsylvania?
Access device fraud can happen through various methods, but the law only considers certain things as “access devices.” These may include, but are not limited to:
- A debit card
- Credit cards
- Account numbers
- Any other information that is used to access financial accounts
What Needs to Be Proven for You to Be Charged with Access Device Fraud?
Just using an access device is not illegal, but using someone else’s access device without permission is a crime. In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with access device fraud if it is proven that you did one or more of the following things:
- You used the access device, knowing it was counterfeit or not complete in some way
- You used this device knowing it belonged to another person or that you were not permitted to use it on their behalf
- The device was canceled or access to it was specifically taken back by the owner
- Any other reason not covered in the above points that shows you had unauthorized access to the device
If you are facing these charges, you are not alone! Get in touch with our criminal fraud lawyer today to discuss your case and fight for your rights.
What Are Some Examples of Access Device Fraud?
While there are many situations in which access device fraud can happen, a few are used most frequently. Here are some of the most common scenarios that can result in an access device fraud charge:
Skimming is where a small device is installed, often undetectable, on a debit card or payment terminal to steal a customer’s financial information.
Phishing is where an email or text message is sent pretending to be a legitimate company, such as a bank or credit card issuer, asking for the victim’s personal information, including access device information.
3. Card Trapping
Card trapping is a fraudulent activity that involves inserting a device inside the card slot of an ATM or payment terminal. The device traps the card, making it impossible for the user to remove it. The user may leave the machine to seek help, giving the person committing the crime time to retrieve the card and use it for fraudulent purchases or cash withdrawals.
How Are Access Device Fraud Charges Prosecuted?
While there are many situations in which you can be charged with access device fraud under Pennsylvania law, penalties for this offense are relatively straightforward. This crime is by no means considered to be a small crime and can range in sentencing from fees to many years in prison.
Additionally, sentencing also depends on the amount stolen from the device holder, the number of times you have committed this crime, prior criminal offenses, and the level of detail to the scheme. While it is always best to consult with your criminal fraud lawyer, here are some of the most common sentencing scenarios if you are charged with access device fraud in Pennsylvania:
The Amount Stolen Was Less Than $50
If you are found guilty of access device fraud and the amount you stole is less than $50, you could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for this conviction are up to two years in jail and/or fines of up to $5,000.
The Amount Stolen Was Between $50 and $500
If the amount stolen is between $50 and $500, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Your sentencing could result in up to $10,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, or both.
The Amount Stolen Was Over $500
If the amount you stole exceeds $500, you could be charged with a third-degree felony. By law, a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania could carry up to seven years in prison, paying fines of up to $15,000, or both.
You Have Committed Access Device Fraud Before Or Have Other Related Criminal Charges
If you have committed access device fraud more than once or used many access devices in the crime, your sentencing could be enhanced. This could include additional penalties and a combination of the scenarios above when you are charged.
Marinaro Law Firm Has the Right Criminal Fraud Lawyer to Assist in Your Criminal Defense
Having the right criminal fraud lawyer on your side when you have pending access device charges is crucial to your case’s outcome. At Marinaro Law Firm, we can help you defend your case to ensure you are given a fair trial, and your side of the situation is heard. Schedule a legal consultation with us today, and know your case is in good hands.