Illinois Credit Card Fraud Laws

Overview of Illinois Credit Card Fraud Laws

In contemporary society, credit cards and debit cards are just about everywhere -- people often have multiple cards of one or both varieties and use them on purchases ranging from "everyday" items (such as food or gas) to expensive or atypical acquisitions. Just as consumers' purchases of goods and services on credit are steadily on the rise, so too is the widespread nature of fraudulent activities associated with credit cards and debit cards.

Illinois credit card fraud law prohibits and penalizes a wide array of crimes stemming from the wrongful possession, sale or use of a credit card or debit card. The statute specifically prohibits the following crimes involving a credit card or debit card:

  • The making of a false statement to procure a credit or debit card
  • Possession of another's credit or debit card
  • Possession of a lost or mislaid credit or debit card
  • Sale or purchase of a credit or debit card.
  • Use of a credit or debit card as security for a debt
  • Use of a counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked, or unissued credit or debit card.
  • Use of a credit or debit card with intent to defraud.

For the last two crimes described above -- use of a counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked, or unissued credit or debit card, and use of a credit or debit card with intent to defraud -- the crime is complete when a person uses such card with the intent to defraud, regardless of whether he or she actually obtains anything of value by its use. The seriousness of these offense is determined according to the fair-market cash value of all property thus obtained (or sought to be obtained) during a six-month period.

Illinois Credit Card Fraud Laws: The Basics

Specific details about credit card laws in Illinois, including charges and penalties, are listed in the following table.

Statutes

Illinois Criminal Code, 720/5/17-31 et. seq.

Sentences and Penalties

With the exception of two of the crimes described above -- use of a counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked, or unissued credit or debit card (a Class 3 felony if more than $300 worth of property was obtained in a six-month period) and use of a credit or debit card with intent to defraud (a Class A misdemeanor if less than $150 worth of property was obtained in a six-month period) -- Illinois classifies all of the other above-listed offenses as Class 4 felonies, the lowest level of a felony offense.

Class 4 felony is punishable by:

  • a term of 1-3 years in prison; periodic imprisonment of up to 18 months, where the convicted person has been committed to any correctional or detention institution or facility and may be released for periods of time to work, seek employment, attend to family needs, or for another approved reason; or probation or conditional discharge of up to 30 months where the court determines that neither imprisonment nor periodic imprisonment of the convicted person is appropriate or "necessary for the protection of the public
  • a fine of up to $25,000 for each offense, and/or restitution; or both.

Class A misdemeanors, on the other hand, are punishable by a sentence of imprisonment or periodic imprisonment of less than one year, or probation or conditional discharge of up to 2 years; a fine of up to $2,500 for each offense; restitution; or a combination of those penalties.

Possible Defenses

  • Ignorance or lack of knowledge
  • Abandonment of criminal purpose
  • Duress or compulsion
  • Entrapment
  • Infancy (for persons under 13 years of age)
  • Insanity

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Illinois Credit Card Fraud Laws: Related Resources

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