Credit Card Fraud

Elements of the Offense

There are three elements to the criminal offense of credit card fraud in D.C.  The first element is that the person has the “intent to defraud.”  Since the judge or jury will not be able to read the defendant’s mind, the prosecutor will seek to make out this element through circumstantial evidence.

The second element is that the person “obtains property of another.”  The third element then pertains to the means by which the property was obtained.  The person could use the actual credit card or just the credit card numbers and/or identifying numbers without the consent of the card’s rightful owner.  The person could use a revoked, canceled, falsified, mutilated or altered credit card.  Or the person could misrepresent his/her ownership of the card or his/her authority to use it.

Penalties

If the value of the property obtained is $250 or more, the penalty for credit card fraud is a maximum fine of $5000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.  If the value of the property is less than $250, the penalty is a maximum fine $1000 and imprisonment for up to 180 days.  D.C. Criminal Code 22-3223.