Access Device Fraud

Pittsburgh Fraud Defense Attorney

The use of another person’s credit cards, ATM cards, personal identification cards, and other account-related “access devices” to commit fraud is a growing problem in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.  Industry observers estimate that the cost of such fraud is in the billions (on an annual basis).  As such, prosecutors have become quite aggressive about pursuing those who have committed access device fraud.

McKinney Law's team of attorneys have extensive experience resolving criminal disputes on behalf of those who have been charged with various fraud offenses, including access device fraud.

We understand that you may be feeling anxious about the possibility of litigation.  Access device fraud is a serious offense and may be prosecuted as a third-degree felony under some circumstances.  Still, it’s important to know that you have options for defending yourself.  By executing a well-considered and comprehensive case strategy, you may be able to avoid criminal liability.

Contact a Pittsburgh fraud defense attorney at our firm today to learn more about how we can help.

What is Access Device Fraud?

What is an “access device?” Section 4106 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes defines an access device as any card (such as a credit card, debit card, account number, personal identification number) or other means of account access that can be used with another access device to obtain money, goods, services, or anything else of value or that can be used to transfer funds.

An individual may be held responsible for access device fraud if they:

  1. Use an access device to obtain or in an attempt to obtain property or services with knowledge that his use of the access device is unauthorized by the issuer or the device holder for any reason;
  2. Transfers to another, or offers, advertises, aids, or abets another person to use an access device knowing that such use is unauthorized; or
  3. Possesses an access device knowing that it is counterfeit, altered, incomplete, or belongs to another person who has not authorized its possession.

Access device fraud may be prosecuted as differently graded offenses, depending on the circumstances.

Looking at (a) in the above list, an offense may be prosecuted as a:

  • Third-degree felony for values obtained or sought in excess of $500. Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 7 years of imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines.
  • First-degree misdemeanor for values between $50 and $500. First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree misdemeanor for values less than $50. Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 2 years of imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines.

For (b) in the above list, an offense may be prosecuted as a third-degree felony.

For (c) in the above list, an offense may be prosecuted as a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year of imprisonment and up to $2,500 in fines.

Each Possession or Use is a Separate Offense

It’s important to note that each unauthorized possession or use of an access device (i.e., credit card) will qualify as a separate offense.  You can be charged with multiple instances of access device fraud.  For example, if you used the victim’s credit card to make several different purchases over the course of a week, each of those purchases could be prosecuted as a separate offense.

When determining the grade of each offense, the total values may be added together.  For example, if you used a single card to make twenty $50 purchases, the total could be added together to equal a value of $1,000, which may be prosecuted as a third-degree felony.

Contact an Experienced Pittsburgh Fraud Defense Attorney at McKinney Law

If you’ve been accused, arrested, or charged with having committed access device fraud in the state of Pennsylvania, you could be exposed to significant criminal penalties.  Impending criminal litigation can be overwhelming, as the stakes are inherently high.  A conviction could not only lead to years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines, but it could also have a lasting effect on your ability to secure gainful employment and reintegrate into society.

The sooner you can engage with a qualified attorney, the better prepared you will be for defending against the prosecution’s claims.  We encourage you to call (412) 520-3301 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh fraud defense attorney at McKinney Law.