recent arrests in Southern California highlight the different kinds of criminal charges
people can face when they're involved in credit card fraud. Two of
the people arrested were allegedly caught using a stolen credit card at
a Target store. The third person was arrested after apparently renting
a car for the first two to use in their crimes and never returning it
to the rental agency.
Not all of them face the same criminal charges, but in general, here is
what they may need to defend themselves against in court:
Identity theft. Using another person's credit card without their permission is one
form of identity theft (likewise if you forge another person's name
on a check or use other personal details such as their Social Security
Number). Under California law, identity theft can be either a misdemeanor
or felony; sometimes you may run afoul of federal identity theft law as
well. In this case, police also found a notebook and various items of
mail containing personal identifying information for over 20 people, on
top of the use of the stolen credit card. According to Section 530.5 of
the California Penal Code (which covers various identity theft laws),
willfully obtaining another personal's identifying information and
using it for various unlawful purposes is illegal.
Burglary or theft. In the case described here, two of the perpetrators allegedly stole the
credit card from another person's vehicle, leaving them open to charges
of burglary. In other situations, someone may steal the credit card from
another person's pocket or purse, which is an act of theft.
Embezzlement. The third perpetrator who obtained the rental car but didn't return
it was charged with embezzlement. Embezzlement generally deals with situations
where people illegally appropriate an item that has been entrusted to
them (this could be money, but it also be other possessions including
Any of these charges could lead to serious penalties, including prison
time for up to 3 years and fines up to $10,000.
How can we help?
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar,
Menifee, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Perris, Banning, Corona or Riverside, you should
contact our law office for a free consultation. Since 1999, we have successfully represented
several hundred individuals who were facing various criminal charges.
Our office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
We can help!