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Federal Access Device Fraud

Access Device Fraud is the principal description for any type of crime that involves credit or debit card, ATM cards, banking cards, and other types of account access devices that affects electronic monetary transactions by transferring funds from one bank account to another by way of providing access to financial institutions. It is usually prosecuted as fraud or a violation of identity theft laws.   

Former Assistant United States Attorney Michael B. Cohen is an accomplished federal Access Device Fraud Attorney whose law office is centrally located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Although a crime involving Access Device Fraud will usually be tried by the state where the offense occurred, there are some criteria that will make it a federal crime. These specific crimes are investigated by the United States Secret Service as well as the FBI and are tried in the federal court system.

Most charges involving counterfeit cards are usually prosecuted as a federal crime including trafficking, possession of more than fifteen counterfeit cards, using a counterfeit card to obtain more than $4000 in merchandise, as well as possessing equipment that can manufacture these cards or fraudulently obtain access device information. A prosecution on the federal level can also be charged for attempting to purchase an unauthorized access device machine or any attempt connecting to the purchasing of such information. And as is the case with all federal prosecutions, if state lines were crossed during the commission of the alleged crime or the alleged crime was committed on federal property or against a government entity the federal government will have jurisdiction.

Charges that are filed for cases where the amount of loss was less than $5000 are usually handled by the individual state where the offense occurred but cases that result in higher monetary amounts or affect multiple victims can be handled as a federal charge even if it doesn't fit other typical federal standards.

Federal Access Device Fraud is considered a white collar crime or a type of identity theft. To be able to prosecute this type of case the government must show that there was intent and fraudulent use, as well as a benefit obtained by the accused. A conviction for this charge can result in severe penalties.

Under the federal sentencing guidelines, access device fraud penalties can differ based on certain variables including whether the individual had been previously charged in association with other cases of federal access device crimes. A conviction for a first time offense can result in a fine of up to $25,000, and a prison term of up to ten or fifteen years, or both, as well as forfeiture of any equipment used to perpetrate the crime depending on the type of fraud which is broken down by sub-sections.

In a case of a previous or subsequent offense a sentence of twenty years in prison may be imposed with similar fines and forfeiture.
In the State of Florida, prosecutions for Access Device Fraud are prosecuted under The State Credit Card Crime Act which sets criminal penalties for alleged crimes related to this type of fraud. These set of laws penalize many Access Device offenses as misdemeanors. However, Florida state laws also allow for the prosecution separate from the Act through other state criminal statutes, which in many cases can impose much harsher sentencing results.

Unauthorized use of any type of access device entity such as a debit or credit card issued to another individual is a crime if the prosecution can prove that the defendant intentionally used the card to pay for goods and services or obtain money. The accused must have had knowledge that the card was unlawfully obtained by theft or other means, and represented themselves as the owner of the card by forgery at any point of sale or miscellaneous usage.

The crime can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor for a first instance where the value obtained was less than $100 or for two offenses committed within a six-month period. Subsequent infractions of fraudulent use within a six-month period increase the charge to a third degree felony.

In Florida, felony access device fraud which is described above mirroring the types of federal allegations stated can result in a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both.

If you or someone close to you is charged with access device fraud, whether by the State of Florida or the federal government, the criminal defense law firm of Michael B. Cohen, Esquire can help. With close to forty years in the legal profession working as a former Assistant State Attorney for Broward County, Florida, and an Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting cases for the government and currently practicing as a criminal defense attorney in South Florida for more than the past fifteen years, my law office based in Fort Lauderdale specializes in federal criminal defense as well as charges brought forward by the State of Florida and is the suitable choice to fight all allegations of crimes when accused by the prosecution.

To view all of my qualifications and understand what should be done next if you or someone you care about is involved in a situation similar to the details of these types of allegations or are facing any other criminal charges, click here.