With all the recent advancements in technology and communication, we are now able to access the entire world. Information from one part of the country can be sent to another part of the country in the blink of an eye.
This has done a world of good in all kinds of ways – but with the good comes the bad. Specifically, new technologies have opened up more doors for criminals to commit different types of identity theft and credit card fraud.
Being able to make transactions or send information online has made it easier for fraudsters to reach the entire world – without ever getting up from a chair. In fact, it’s quite common for fraudsters to engage in criminal acts across national borders. International credit card theft rings can take place in and/or outside of the United States. They are big jobs, usually involving multiple people, and often racking up thousands, if not millions of dollars in stolen assets or property.
How does it work?
An individual may steal credit card information in the United States and transfer that information to partners overseas who will use it to obtain goods at retail locations. An international credit card ring is typically hard to catch – after all, fraudsters can be hiding anywhere in the world.
For this reason, national and international agencies are constantly working on ways to investigate and catch international credit card rings. According to various statutes of limitations, investigators have five years to track down and arrest criminals after they have committed fraud offenses. When fraudsters are caught, there are big penalties.
If you are charged or learn that you are under investigation, contact us as soon as possible. Because as you’ll see below, these crimes are not taken lightly – quite the opposite.
International Offenses Mean Federal Charges
State and local law enforcement typically pass off crimes of this level to the big guys in federal law enforcement. After all, if you are committing crimes in one state, but have victims in different states (or countries), it would be hard to determine where the trial should be held.
If the alleged crimes were committed outside of the United States, but involve American victims, you may be forced to enter the United States, immediately arrested, and tried in American federal courts.
Penalties for Federal Credit Card Fraud
The penalties attached to a conviction depend on the amount of goods that were stolen and where the crimes took place. That being said, typically, credit card fraud offenses are felony charges in federal court (in certain state courts, like New York, a first offense may be a misdemeanor charge).
Typically, offenders face up to 15 years in prison and heavy fines. Remember, this is just for a first offense. Second-time and subsequent offenders may face up to 20 years in prison, and are less likely to get a lighter sentence or be offered a plea bargain.
You may also have to pay restitution to the victims, or return stolen merchandise. If you are not a permanent citizen of the United States, you may also be deported and not allowed back in the country.
Bottom line: when the feds are against you, you face long jail sentences and an aggressive prosecution that wants to hit you with maximum penalties. Evidence from federal organizations (the FBI and so on) will be available and stacked against you.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately to start building a strong defense and give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome.