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Can my husband press credit card fraud charges against me in Oregon for adding my name to his credit cards

Oregon City, OR |

My husband and I have been married for 3 years, been living together for 5, with 3 children who are 4, 2 and 8 months. I have been a stay at home mom, where ,my husband has been the sole provider for our family. He has never added me to his checking account or given me any way to pay for anything. The problem: I was added to two of his credit cards and he knew i was using them to by household needs, but there are many more cards that i opened in both of our names with his income. He claims he never knew about them but he did know that i was using them...he just did not know the extent. I can prove he knew because i was paying the payment on the card from his checking account online. So now all cards and balances have came out in the open because he has been sued since we could not afford to pay on all of them, he now wants to charge me with fraud and in addition to the credit cards, he also wants to add on all the checks that i had signed his name on for the past 4 years, that he had given me permission to sign. 98% being spent or written for food for our household at grocrey store or for bills. I will say that i did use the credit cards more than he thought we were and i did open 3 cards with out his knowledge. What can i do or what can he do with charging me with fraud in Oregon, or how can i claim this debt to be mine...or what? Will this even stand considering i had no way to purchase household means for our family? In addition i have no history of any criminal activity. We are around $60,000 in debt, own our house that has very little equity and are financing one car that has 0 equity.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Although I am not an Oregon practitioner of the criminal law of that state, I see no basis for any criminal nor even civil charges (including fraud) based upon the scenario which you've described.

  2. Note that I am not licensed to practice in your state.

    I agree that according to your description, he has no case for fraud. However, that does not mean he cannot still file a police report for identity theft and fraud and make your life a living hell.

    I think it might be time to speak with a divorce attorney.

  3. I do not practice in your state and am not licensed to do so.

    I must respectfully disagree with the other attorneys that have responded. If you signed his name to any of the credit card applications, and supplied his personal information without his consent in applying for the cards, you can be held criminally liable for identity theft and fraud under federal statute, and most likely under your state's statutes. Where you admit to opening three accounts without his knowledge, you have a problem. Further, if he were to divorce you, it is likely he would argue, and possibly win, that you did not incur that debt for the benefit of the marriage (thus not marital debt but your sole debt) or that you wasted marital assets through your spending without his permission and through purposeful concealment.

    Unless you have a signed (and in many places, recorded) general durable power of attorney, you do not have authority to sign your husband's name to anything, especially something that would create a legal liability for him.

    Folks, honesty is still the best policy. Even if you think your spouse "knows" about your use of credit, if you know you are spending money they don't know about and won't approve of, don't be surprised or get mad at them when they catch you and are not exactly happy about it. Take the extra time to get your spouse to sign -- do not sign for them. Same with taxes, bank accounts, etc.