LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Daniel P. Hilf | Mar 28, 2012

Financial Transaction Device - Credit Card Fraud

In Michigan there are several crimes related to credit card fraud, debit card fraud, and gift card fraud or point of sale fraud that are commonly prosecuted. The above mentioned items are also referred to in Michigan as financial transaction devices. Even the possession of someone else’s account number, credit card number, PIN (personal identification number), personal account, or business account can be prosecuted when possessed fraudulently to obtain money, a refund, or credit for goods, services, or other things of value can be a crime under certain circumstances. The most common financial transaction device fraud or credit card fraud case inMichigan is forstealing, taking, removing a financial transaction device from the deviceholder. MCL 750.157n(1) provides that a person who steals knowingly takes, or knowingly removes a financial transaction device from the person or possession of a deviceholder, or who knowingly retains, knowingly possesses, knowingly secretes, or knowingly uses a financial transaction device without the consent of the deviceholder, is guilty of a felony. This crime carries a maximum possible punishment of up to 4 years in prison. There are sophisticated financial transaction device crimes that involve devices that are fraudulently made or altered to duplicate a legitimate credit card, debit card, or gift card. Under MCL 750.157n(2) a person who knowingly possesses a fraudulent or altered financial transaction device is guilty of a felony. There is a market for selling, trading, or otherwise giving awayfinancial transaction device. According to MCL 750.157p a person who has in his or her possession, or under his or her control, or who receives from another person a financial transaction device with the intent to use, deliver, circulate, or sell the financial transaction device, or to permit, cause, or procure thefinancial transaction device to be used, delivered, circulated, or sold, knowing the possession, control, receipt, use, delivery, circulation, or sale to be without the consent of the deviceholder, is guilty of a felony. The person who with intent to defraud, forges, materially alters, simulates, or counterfeits a financial transaction device is guilty of a felony under MCL 750.157r. All of these crimes carry a maximum possible penalty of up to 4 years in prison. There are circumstances when a person who is innocent is prosecuted for these offenses. In some cases a person possesses a financial transaction device because of a dating relationship or because of work. When the relationship ends poorly, or when the working relationship sours, this sometimes prompts a call to the police concerning the financial transaction device with a false allegation of misuse or misappropriation of the credit card. In other instances, a person is duped into believing there is authority to use the credit card. These types of cases can present viable defenses because there is not a knowing intent to misuse or misappropriate thefinancial transaction device. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help properly defend you when faced with offenses related to financial transaction devices. It is recommended that you first exercise your right to remain silent and second hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if accused or after your arrest for crimes related to financial transaction devices for the following reasons: 1. You have a better chance of receiving a reasonable bail or bond through effective legal representation; 2. The lawyer can prepare the case for preliminary examination to work for possible dismissal, lay the groundwork for possible motions, develop testimony to impeach witnesses, and develop defenses for trial. 3. You need a skilled criminal defense attorney to prepare and conduct the trial to give you the best chance of winning if you intend on going to trial. 4. A skilled lawyer can file motions and/or conducting evidentiary hearings, when appropriate, in order to: gain dismissal of charges; exclude improperly obtained statements from the Defendant; suppress evidence that was illegally seized; and/or challenge the ability of the prosecutor to introduce prior act testimony at trial. The ability to control the evidence introduced at trial can greatly improve the chances of ultimately gaining acquittal. 5. If you plan to plead guilty to crimes related to financial transaction devices , theexperienced criminal defense lawyer can work to achieve the best result through possible plea bargains, possible Cobbs agreements, persuasive lawyering, proper scoring of the Michigan Sentence Guidelines, successful arguments concerning possible sentencing options such as HYTA - Holmes Youthful Trainee Act,MDOC SAI Bootcamp, drug and alcohol treatment. Every case is different, and whether or not the factors in this paragraph apply depends upon your history, the facts of the allegation, the Prosecutor's office, and the Judge assigned to the case. Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you make for yourself and your family. There are many lawyers who claim to do more than what they are able - just as there are many surgeons in the world that are no better than butchers. Do not settle for a legal hack job. Practicing law is a skill that develops over time with experience, commitment, dedication, and God given talent. There are no amateur attorneys at ** Hilf & Hilf, PLC– only professionals that are guided by the humanity in the individuals we serve, and the drive not to settle for what is easy over what is right. Daniel Hilf, Esq. of the law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC, is a criminal defense lawyer who is driven by a commitment to winning. His legal career is distinguished by an ability to think on his feet, to analyze issues in both conventional and unconventional ways, and to react effectively against the challenges presented by Prosecutors and Courts.**

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