New York Credit Card Fraud Laws
Overview of New York Credit Card Fraud Laws
New York criminal law prohibits two distinct usages of a credit card, debit card, and in some cases a public benefit card to commit a crime of theft or fraud. Section 165.15(1) of the New York Penal Code describes the first illicit usage - that of a person obtaining or attempting to obtain a service on a credit basis, by the use of a credit card or debit card which he or she knows to be stolen - or inducing or attempting to induce the supplier of the service to agree to payment on a credit basis by the same means. The second illicit usage of a credit, debit or public benefit card is found in Section 165.17, which prohibits a person's unlawful use or display of a credit card, debit card, or public benefit card - which he or she knows to be revoked or canceled - to obtain property or a service.
A person who commits theft of services through the use of a stolen credit or debit card may also be found liable for other theft-related crimes. For one, the theft of the stolen card itself may be prosecuted as larceny or criminal possession of stolen property. In addition, if the person using the card signs for a purchase in the cardholder's name without the latter's permission, he or she may be guilty of forgery.
In order to convict a defendant of unlawful use of a revoked or canceled credit, debit or public benefit card, the prosecution need not prove that the defendant acquired the card unlawfully, nor that property or a service was actually purchased.
Example: One month after receiving notice of the revocation of his credit card, Felix goes to a convenience store and, in order to purchase a carton of cigarettes by personal check, shows the revoked credit card to the store manager. Felix would likely be found guilty of the crime of unlawful use of a credit card.
Defenses to Credit Card Fraud Charges
- Infancy (for persons less than 16 years of age)
- Mental disease or defect
Penalties and Sentences
New York classifies both the theft of services by means of a stolen credit or debit card and the unlawful use of a revoked or canceled credit, debit, or public benefit card as class A misdemeanors. The crimes therefore carry the same penalties: a sentence of imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to $1,000.
New York Credit Card Fraud Statute
Theft of Services
Penal Code Section 165.15
Unlawful Use of Credit Card, Debit Card or Public Benefit Card
Penal Code Section 165.17
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.