What Is The Difference Between Financial Transaction Card Fraud, Financial Transaction Card Theft, and Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent?

Fraud charges are serious business. A person or business may face charges of financial transaction card theft, financial transaction card fraud, or breach of trust with fraudulent intent depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime and the facts around what happened. We explain the main differences as well as the penalties if convicted.

Financial Transaction Card Theft

A charge of financial transaction card theft can be applied when:

  • Someone takes a debit or credit card from another person without their consent with the intent to use that card, either personally or transfer it to a third party to use.
  • Where the defendant uses or had intended to use a card belonging to someone else that they knew was lost or stolen.
  • Where the defendant bought or sold a credit or debit card, even though they are not the insurer of that card.
  • Where the defendant uses a device that scans the card information which is then stored and used to encode another person’s credit card or debit card information.

If convicted of this crime the defendant is usually found guilty of a Class I felony, a large fine, and jail time of up to five years.

Financial Transaction Card Fraud

A charge of financial transaction card fraud can be applied when:

  • The defendant assumes the identity of the owner of the debit or credit card to use it.
  • The defendant uses a credit or debit without the owner’s permission.
  • The defendant pretends to be in possession of a card that has not been issued.
  • The defendant uses a debit or credit card to exceed their bank balance or credit limit “knowingly and willfully.”

A person does not necessarily have to have purchased goods or services to be charged with financial transaction card fraud and may still be charged if they wrongfully obtain a debit or credit card as security for a debt, or use an automated banking service to deposit a check that has been forged, altered, or is counterfeit.

If convicted of the crime, the defendant may only be found guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. The severity depends on the amount of money involved. If the value of the products or services purchased is more than $500, the defendant may be guilty of a Class I felony.

Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent

A breach of trust with fraudulent intent is where one party deliberately and intentionally betrays another party’s trust with fraudulent intent. This usually involves the unlawful possession of goods where one party unlawfully takes goods from another or converts the goods for their own use. Just the intention to do the above is an offense, as is hiring or counseling a third party to help execute the breach.

To be charged, the defendant must be found guilty of willfully and feloniously appropriating another’s property that has been entrusted to them. Exactly how the trust has been breached must also be clear.

A defendant may argue that there was no relationship of trust in the first place, that they did not breach the trust, or that the other party consented to them acquiring the goods. They may also suggest that the goods were taken to cover debt accrued by the other party or that it was for the owner’s benefit.

Penalties depend on the value of the goods involved.

  • If the value is $1,000 or less, a defendant found guilty may spend up to 30 days in prison or be fined up to $500.
  • If the value is over $1,000 but less than $5,000, a defendant found guilty may spend up to five years in prison or receive a fine in the court’s discretion.
  • If the value is $5,000 or more, a defendant found guilty may spend up to 10 years in prison or receive a fine in the court’s discretion.
  • If the value is $5,000 or more and the defendant has two or more prior convictions for a statutorily defined serious offense, they may receive a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

Have you or someone you know been charged with fraud? The Complete Legal Defense Team can have the knowledge and experience to help. Contact us today at 843-321-4968 for a free, confidential consultation.

Written by Greg McCollum CLDT

Greg McCollum CLDT

At the Complete Legal Defense Team we represent, assist, and defend people who are accused of crimes. Being accused of a crime is a harrowing experience. You experience public shame and humiliation and do not know where to turn for help. We are experienced and knowledgeable and will take immediate steps to begin repairing your life. We evaluate how the allegation affects your reputation in the community, how it affects your time and your life, and how it will affect you financially. Believe it or not, many people who are arrested and charged with crimes are innocent.