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Ohio Credit Card Fraud and Penalties

February 20, 2020 | Written by Dan Margolis

The penalties for credit card fraud in Ohio are severe. Depending on the facts, a prosecutor may charge you with misuse of credit card, identity fraud, or both. If either offense involved an elderly or disabled victim, or if the value taken was over $1,000 it will result in felony charges. Aside from prison and fines, the consequences of credit card fraud can also mean difficulties finding employment.

Fortunately, an experienced Ohio fraud defense attorney may be able to help you avoid these penalties. At the Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC, we can work to defeat the allegations or negotiate a beneficial plea that reduces the impact on your life. Call us today at (216) 533-9533 or fill out our online contact form if you have been accused of credit card or identity fraud in Ohio.

Identity Fraud for Using Someone Else’s Credit Card

Ohio Revised Code section 2913.49 prohibits the unauthorized use of another person’s identification, which may include their social security number, driver’s license, or credit card number.

Identity fraud may be punished as a:

  • Felony of the fifth degree—Less than $1,000 in damages: Between six to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.
  • Felony of the fourth degree–Between $1,000 and $7,500 taken: A six to 18 month prison sentence and/or a $5,000 fine.
  • Felony of the third degree–Between $7,500 and $150,000 taken: A nine to 36 month p prison sentence and/or a $10,000 fine.
  • Felony of the second degree— $150,000 or more taken: A two to 12 years in prison, and/or up to $50,000 in fines.

When the victim belongs to a protected class, which includes seniors, disabled persons, and active members of the armed services and their spouses, the offense is increased to the next degree of felony.

For example, if you commit identity fraud against an elderly person resulting in a loss of $200, you can expect a second degree felony charge. In addition to the prison time described above, the court can order restitution to the victim in full and additional fines.

Ohio’s Misuse of Credit Card Statute

Ohio Revised Statutes section 2913.21 prohibits a wide range of conduct surrounding credit or debit cards. Many violations in Ohio are charged as misdemeanors in the first degree, involving a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

First degree misdemeanor charges may apply to:

  • Providing false information on an application and obtaining a credit card
  • Buying a credit card from anyone other than the issuer
  • Selling a credit card to anyone other than the issuer
  • Misusing a government credit card
  • Obtaining a credit card as a security for a debt, with the intent to defraud
  • Obtaining a credit card with the intent of violating any provision of Ohio’s misuse of credit card statute.

The following violations are also first degree misdemeanors, but the offense immediately becomes a felony if the victim is elderly or disabled, or the theft involves more than $1,000:

  • Knowingly using a credit card that has expired, been revoked, or illegally obtained
  • Providing services or goods to someone you know to be using an illegal card

Similar to identity fraud in Ohio, the potential penalties increase as the damages increase:

  • $1,000 to $7,500 result in fifth degree felony charges.
  • $7,500 to $150,000 result in fourth degree felony charges.
  • Over $150,000 results in third degree felony charges.

Calculating the Amount of Damages

The prosecutor can take several illicit credit card accounts into account if they were under your control over a 90 day period beginning with the first violation. The losses of several victims may be added together as well.

As a result, the potential penalties for credit card fraud can escalate quickly. These cases are typically complex and fact-intensive, as each side tries to prove what criminal conduct–if any–occurred during that 90 day period.

Call an Ohio Credit Card Fraud Lawyer Today

At the Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC, we have seen many people get charged with identity theft or credit card fraud over a simple misunderstanding. Our goal is to protect your rights and shield you from the criminal penalties and collateral consequences of a conviction.

The defense of every case is different, but it will always benefit your case to talk to skilled lawyer Daniel Margolis as early in the process as possible. For your free consultation on defending against credit card fraud charges, call us today at (216) 533-9533.

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