Credit Card Offenses
There are three criminal offenses in Virginia that involve credit cards: credit card theft, credit card forgery, and credit card fraud.
Credit Card Theft
In order to secure a conviction for credit card theft, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) the defendant took a credit card or credit card number from another person, (2) the taking was without the consent of the cardholder, and (3) the taking was with intent to either use or sell it.
Mere possession of a stolen credit card is not an offense. The government must also prove that the card or card number was wrongfully taken from its rightful owner or that it was received with the knowledge that it had been taken and with the intent to either use, sell, or transfer it. However, possession of multiple credit cards or credit card numbers of another person without the consent of the cardholder serves as prima facie evidence of a violation of this statute.
A person found guilty of this crime is subject to one to 20 years of imprisonment in a state correctional institution, confinement in jail for up to 12 months, and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-192.
Credit Card Forgery
There are three elements to credit card forgery. Specifically, the government must prove that: (1) the defendant bought something of value from a merchant using the credit card, (2) the defendant was not the cardholder or a person authorized by the cardholder to use the credit card, and (3) the defendant intended to defraud the issuer.
The punishment for credit card forgery is imprisonment in a state correctional institution from one to 10 years, confinement in jail for up to 12 months, and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-193.
Credit Card Fraud
In order to secure a conviction for credit card fraud, the government must prove that: (1) the defendant took a credit card or credit card number from another person, (2) the taking was with intent to use, sell or transfer it to a person other than the issuer or cardholder, (3) the defendant used the credit card or credit card number to buy something of value, and (4) the defendant had the intent to defraud.
If the value of everything obtained by the defendant within a six month period exceeded $200, the offense is a Class 6 felony punishable by one to 5 years imprisonment in a state correctional institution, or in the discretion of the jury or court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Otherwise the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-195.
Variations on the credit card fraud offense include using an expired or revoked card or card number, false representation, obtaining cash advance, fraudulent application for credit card, criminal possession of credit card forgery devices, and unlawful use of payment card scanning devices and re-encoders. Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-195.2. Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-196. Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-196.1.