Fraud in Connection with Counterfeit Credit Cards

Before a person can be convicted of the federal crime of fraud in connection with counterfeit credit card or other access devices, the prosecutor must prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The person charged knowingly produced or used or trafficked in a counterfeit access device;
  2. The person charged acted willfully, with knowledge of the counterfeit nature of the access device, and with the intent of defrauding or deceiving; and
  3. The conduct of the person charged affected interstate or foreign commerce.

The term “access device” means any credit card, plate, code, account number, electronic serial number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, or other means of account access that can be used, alone or in conjunction with another access device, to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds (other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument).

The term “counterfeit access device” means any access device that is counterfeit, fictitious, altered, or forged, or an identifiable component of an access device or a counterfeit access device.

The essence of the federal crime of fraud in connection with counterfeit credit cards or other access devices is the willful use of a counterfeit access device with intent to defraud, and it is not necessary to prove that anyone was in fact deceived or defrauded.

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