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Deciphering Access Device Fraud

A little known statute is making news in Florida. Two men were recently sentenced to almost two years in prison and another faces charges for the same offense.

The Palm Beach Post is reporting about two men who were recently convicted of access device fraud and given a jail sentence. The court convicted the defendants on 21 counts of knowingly possessing at least 15 counterfeit access devices with the intention of committing fraud. According to the report, law enforcement searched a vehicle driven by one of the defendants as part of a routine traffic stop. They reportedly found 30 counterfeit credit cards, along with a variety of false indication documents. In June, the defendants pleaded guilty to access device fraud and they recently received prison sentences of 21 months.

Cumberlink.com is also reporting about a device fraud incident involving one accused party. The man allegedly went into a bulk items store and attempted to purchase numerous items, including pre-loaded credit cards. A loss prevention officer reported seeing the man swipe multiple credit cards in an attempt to complete the purchase, but several attempts were allegedly denied. Upon review of the transactions, the loss prevention officer alleges that several of the cards were reported stolen or were part of past fraudulent attempts.

A search was conducted and law enforcement agents allegedly found numerous Mastercard gift cards, cell phone refill cards, video game service cards and an additional store gift card. Agents also allege that the man had another 22 gift cards on his person. He is facing 25 counts of felony access device fraud.

The Crime

The United States Code Section 18 USC 1029 governs access device fraud, which is a theft crime. The elements of the crime require that a person acts knowingly and intentionally with the intent to defraud and:

  • Uses or traffics one or more counterfeit access device;
  • Produces, traffics or possesses device making equipment; or
  • Commits another act pursuant to violation of the statute.

For the purpose of this statute, intent to defraud means acting with the intention to cheat or deceive another. Device making equipment includes mechanisms, equipment or impression making machines that create counterfeit access to funds. Access devices refer to various information that is used to access an account of funds, including cards, personal access codes and account numbers.

To be sure, some common offenses that may fall under the umbrella of access device fraud include:

  • Credit card theft;
  • Using another person’s credit card without authorization;
  • Using fraud to obtain a credit card in the mail;
  • Creating a counterfeit credit card;
  • Gaining credit card numbers by creating a fake web site or business; and
  • Using a credit card number fraudulently.

If convicted of a federal crime, you can face serious penalties to include imprisonment in a federal prison. An aggressive defense is vital to protect yourself from these life changing consequences. If you or a loved one is facing a charge of access device fraud, Miami lawyers Mycki Ratzan and Jude Faccidomo can provide you with a comprehensive defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.

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