Police say Ernis Perez Valdez of Palm Bay has been charged with three counts of unauthorized use of a credit card and two driver’s license restriction violations. Valdez may have stolen more than $100,000 through fraudulent transactions at a single store during the past four months. West Melbourne investigators had identified two victims — both living outside of Florida — and were trying to find an unknown number of others when they stumbled upon Valdez.
Credit card fraud in Florida is one of the most common forms of identity theft; which in 2010 affected about 8.5 million households in the United States. Once a credit card is lost or stolen, anyone can use it until the owner calls the credit card company or bank and notifies them that it is lost. If you notify the credit card company or bank of unauthorized charges, most will remove the charges for you. They will also close the account and issue another card with a different number. Some credit card companies and banks may charge the minimum liability – $50.00.
Part of many credit card thieves’ method of operation is to have a credit card with a legitimate name on it, either the thief’s real name, or a name that can be supported with false identification, that is programmed with another account in the magnetic strip. However, there are many other ways that one may be charged with a credit card related crime, including:
– using another person’s card without their permission,
– signing the back of someone else’s credit card,
– providing false information to obtain a credit card,
– keeping a misplaced, lost or stolen credit card with intent to use it,
– creating or using a counterfeit credit card,
– using an expired or revoked credit card, or
– altering or modifying a credit card receipt after it has been signed.
Law enforcement officers have the ability to investigate credit card crimes, should the victim report the theft. However, not every victim knows they are a victim and do not always report it. Police may have to subpoena banks to get account holder information to identify the victims, which could lead to a lengthy investigation and a long period of time spent in jail while police and lawyers sort one’s case out.
Remember, the crime of credit card fraud requires proof of intent to defraud the issuer or a person or organization, stealing another’s funds. So a person who takes possession of an item with the good faith belief in the right to the property lacks the requisite intent to commit grand theft. As a result, a well-founded belief in one’s right to allegedly stolen property constitutes a complete defense to the crime of grand theft.
When one has been charged with a crime such as this, one should obtain an experienced Jacksonville credit card crimes defense attorney. One should not throw their possible defenses to the wind. Without an experienced attorney, one could face a difficult time in proving one’s defense. Don’t let this happen to you. If one is a suspect of credit card fraud, one should get a defense; the best defense possible.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: West Melbourne police: Credit card fraud victims were unaware Stacey Barchenger, Florida Today