Credit Card Fraud

Credit card or debit card abuse under state law in Texas is more commonly known simply as credit card fraud. As more people become increasingly reliant on credit, debit, and other automated teller machine (ATM) card for transactions conducted in person and online, alleged credit card fraud accounts for a significant number of white-collar offenses.

Credit card fraud is a felony offense that can result in serious penalties, including significant fines and time in prison. It is not uncommon for people to be charged with this crime after using a debit or credit card that they believed they were authorized to use.

Lawyer for Credit Card Fraud Arrests in Denton, TX

Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested for alleged credit or debit card fraud in Denton County? Even if you are completely confident in your innocence, do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today.

Denton criminal defense attorneys Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton represent clients accused of white-collar crimes in communities throughout Denton County, including Flower Mound, Highland Village, Lewisville, Little Elm, The Colony, Argyle, and many others. Call 940-222-8004 right now to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.


Denton County Credit Card Fraud Information Center


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Credit Card Fraud Charges in Texas

Under Texas Penal Code § 32.31, an alleged offender commits credit card or debit card abuse if:

  • with intent to obtain a benefit fraudulently, he or she presents or uses a credit card or debit card with knowledge that the card, whether or not expired, has not been issued to him or her and is not used with the effective consent of the cardholder, or the card has expired or has been revoked or cancelled;
  • with intent to obtain a benefit, he or she uses a fictitious credit card or debit card or the pretended number or description of a fictitious card;
  • he or she receives a benefit that he or she knows has been obtained in violation of this section;
  • he or she steals a credit card or debit card or, with knowledge that it has been stolen, receives a credit card or debit card with intent to use it, to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder;
  • he or she buys a credit card or debit card from a person who he knows is not the issuer;
  • not being the issuer, he or she sells a credit card or debit card;
  • he or she uses or induces the cardholder to use the cardholder's credit card or debit card to obtain property or service for the alleged offender’s benefit for which the cardholder is financially unable to pay;
  • not being the cardholder, and without the effective consent of the cardholder, he or she possesses a credit card or debit card with intent to use it;
  • he or she possesses two or more incomplete credit cards or debit cards that have not been issued to him or her with intent to complete them without the effective consent of the issuer (for the purposes of this subdivision, a card is incomplete if part of the matter that an issuer requires to appear on the card before it can be used, other than the signature of the cardholder, has not yet been stamped, embossed, imprinted, or written on it);
  • being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, he or she, with intent to defraud the issuer or the cardholder, furnishes goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card obtained or retained in violation of this section or a credit card or debit card that is forged, expired, or revoked; or
  • being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, he or she, with intent to defraud the issuer or a cardholder, fails to furnish goods or services that he or she represents in writing to the issuer that he or she has furnished.

Any of the offenses listed above is a state jail felony, although a crime can become a third-degree felony if the alleged offense was committed against an elderly individual. An elderly person is defined under Texas Penal Code § 22.04 as a person 65 years of age or older.

Another offense related to credit fraud that a person may be charged with is false statement to obtain property or credit or in the provision of certain services. Under Texas Penal Code § 32.32, an alleged offender commits this offense if he or she intentionally or knowingly makes a materially false or misleading written statement to obtain property or credit—which is defined in this statute as including a credit card or a loan of money, furnishing property or service on credit, extending the due date of an obligation, comaking, endorsing, or guaranteeing a note or other instrument for obtaining credit, a line or letter of credit, or a mortgage loan.

False statement to obtain property or credit offenses are graded according to the value of the property or the amount of credit involved. Such crimes are classified as follows:

  • Less than $100 — Class C misdemeanor;
  • $100 or more but less than $750 — Class B misdemeanor;
  • $750 or more but less than $2,500 — Class A misdemeanor;
  • $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 — State jail felony;
  • $30,000 or more but less than $150,000 — Third-degree felony;
  • $150,000 or more but less than $300,000 — Second-degree felony; or
  • $300,000 or more — First-degree felony.

A person could also be charged with fraudulent use or possession of identifying information under Texas Penal Code § 32.51 if he or she, with the intent to harm or defraud another, obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses an item of identifying information of another person without the other person's consent. Identifying information is defined as information that alone or in conjunction with other information identifies a person, including a person's name and date of birth; unique biometric data, including the person's fingerprint, voice print, or retina or iris image; unique electronic identification number, address, routing code, or financial institution account number; telecommunication identifying information or access device; and social security number or other government-issued identification number.

A telecommunication access device can mean a credit card or any other card, plate, code, account number, personal identification number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, or other telecommunications service, equipment, or instrument identifier or means of account access that alone or in conjunction with another telecommunication access device may be used to obtain money, goods, services, or other thing of value, or initiate a transfer of funds other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument.

The number of items allegedly obtained, possessed, transferred, or used determines the grade of the alleged offense. Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information are generally classified as follows:

  • Less than five — State jail felony;
  • Five or more but less than 10 — Third-degree felony;
  • 10 or more but less than 50 — Second-degree felony; or
  • 50 or more — First-degree felony.

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Credit Card Fraud Penalties in Denton County

Convictions for the credit card fraud offenses listed above may be punishable by one of the following sentences, depending on the classification of the alleged crime:

  • Class C Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $500;
  • Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000;
  • Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000;
  • State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
  • Third Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
  • Second Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
  • First Degree Felony — Minimum of five years up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition to the fines listed above, alleged offenders may also be ordered to pay restitution to alleged victims.


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Texas Credit Card Fraud Resources

Consumer Protection | Credit Cards | Texas Attorney General — Visit this section of the attorney general’s website to learn more about protecting your credit cards. You can find steps to take to protect your credit card information and what to do if your credit card is stolen. You can also learn how to file a consumer complaint against a credit card company.

Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud | Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — The mission of the FTC is to “prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.” On this section of the FTC website, you can learn more about how credit card fraud happens and what you can do if you become a victim. You can also find information relating to credit card loss protection and lost or stolen credit or debit cards.


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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Denton Credit Card Fraud Defense Attorney

If you were arrested or believe that you could be under investigation anywhere in Denton County for alleged credit or debit card fraud, it is in your best interest to avoid making any kind of statement to authorities until you have legal counsel. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy aggressively defends individuals accused of these offenses in The Colony, Little Elm, Lewisville, Highland Village, Flower Mound, Argyle, and many surrounding areas of Denton County.

Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Denton who can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. They will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call 940-222-8004 or fill out an online contact form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.


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