Everyone hates credit card skimmers, but prosecutors had a problem under the old law for prosecuting fake credit cards etc, you required contacting each person who had their information stolen and getting them to trial if necessary. Getting dozens of credit-card victims to testify was a logistical nightmare for prosecutors, and so the legislature passed a new law to make it easier to prosecute people for possessing stolen credit card information.

The new law creates a “rebuttable presumption” that if you possess 5 or more stolen credit numbers, or counterfeit credit cards, you are doing so without the permission of the account holder. What’s a rebuttable presumption? It means what it sounds like. It shifts the burden to the defendant to show they had permission and lets the State off the hook from contacting all the people on the phony credit cards.

Let’s look at the statute-

A person commits an offense if the person, with the intent to harm or defraud another, obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses:
(1) a counterfeit credit card or debit card;
(2) the number and expiration date of a credit card or debit card without
the consent of the account holder; or
(3) the data stored on the digital imprint of a credit card or debit card
without the consent of the account holder.
(c) If an actor possessed five or more of an item described by Subsection (b)(2) or
(3), a rebuttable presumption exists that the actor possessed each item without the consent of the account holder.

What’s the punishment for fraudulent use or possession of credit card information? It depends on how many phony or stolen credit card numbers you have.

It is a state jail felony for less than five
3rd- degree felony for five to ten
2nd-degree is 10-50
1st-degree felony (5-99 years in prison!) for 50 or more

The cases we see on for credit card abuse usually begin with a phony return scam, or someone trying to use a phony credit card at a store, or maybe they are doing a return-item or receipt scam and get caught. The store calls security, security calls police, the police search the car of the defendant and find lots of phony credit cards.

If you are charged with possessing stolen credit card information you have to get a lawyer. There is no misdemeanor version of this offense (well, maybe if you got a plea offer for attempted state-jail it could be a Class A), so if you don’t want to a felon you should get a lawyer, but maybe bring cash to pay them and don’t use a credit card.


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