Just a few years ago, some of the biggest names in credit card theft were arrested for the crimes they committed. The ringleader and his cohorts had made off with more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers within a two year span.
According to prosecutors, this case was the "largest case of computer crime and identity theft ever prosecuted." This team of credit card thieves hacked into Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven Inc., Hannaford Brothers, a supermarket chain, and two national retail stores.
According to Fox News, the 11 people arrested for these credit and debit card theft crimes also obtained card numbers from BJs Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21 and other stores. Each defendant of the ring faced up to 35 years in prison, and more than $1 million in fines, or twice the amount they made from the crime.
Another recent news story that made headlines concerned a McDonald's employee, who admitted to "skimming" 129 credit cards. The employee received a scanning device, which attached to his cellphone, from a man who paid the McDonald's worker $500 for every 30 credit card numbers he scanned. The food services operative made about $2,100 before he was arrested. Skimming has become especially popular at ATMs. The McDonald's employee faces up to five years in prison for fraudulent use of a card scanner.
As credit card theft becomes more mainstream, prosecutors are taking these charges more seriously. Since the 1998 passage of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, individuals convicted of credit card theft can spend up to 15 years in prison, pay exorbitant fines, and be forced to forfeit any property used to commit these offenses. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an individual who engaged in these activities can be charged with identification fraud, credit card fraud, computer fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, or financial institution fraud. These are all felonies and could carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.
If you have been accused of credit card theft, it is imperative that you get competent criminal defense representation on your side immediately. Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP is a criminal defense firm with over 50 years of combined experience. The firm is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbel and has tried over 200 jury trials, achieving hundreds of case dismissals.