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Credit and debit card fraud in Tennessee

Fraud charges can range from minor charges to those that are considered white collar and much more serious. White collar crimes are those criminal offenses that are typically financially motivated, often utilizing one's occupation to steal money. Since many Tennessee residents and businesses work hard for their money, they oftentimes find themselves upset when funds go missing, and understandably so. These individuals and businesses then look for swift justice, which can lead to false allegations against innocent people. When this happens, an accused individual needs to fully understand the law so that he or she can create the best criminal defense they can muster.

One crime that is worth understanding is credit and debit fraud. These offenses are becoming more common, especially with car readers being illegally installed at some gas pumps. These devices can allow an individual to capture customers' information and use it for their financial gain. Yet, Tennessee law defines credit and debit fraud much more broadly. According to the applicable statute, it is illegal for an individual to knowingly possess a credit or debit card that is owned by another individual, unless the owner has given consent for another person to possess said card.

It is also illegal for an individual to use the credit or debit card of another to buy anything of value, so long as the individual knows that the card was stolen, expired, cancelled or forged. It is also illegal to allow another individual to use a card that is stolen if it is known that the card was obtained by illegal means.

The penalties for a conviction for credit card or debit card fraud can be severe, depending on the value of the goods that are fraudulently obtained. A Class B felony, defined as obtaining items of value totaling $60,000 or more can result in incarceration for up to 30 years and a fine of up to $25,000 upon conviction.

Even lesser forms of the crime can land an individual in jail and leave him or her with a criminal record that can wreak havoc on their future. With so much at stake, those who are accused of credit or debit card fraud should consider discussing the matter with a criminal defense attorney who can advise them of their legal options.

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