PC 484(g) – Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

PC 484g - Credit Card Fraud

Fraudulent use of Credit Cards – Table of Contents

PC 484(g) – Overview

What is Fraudulent use of an Access Card or Credit Card as defined under California Penal Code 484(g)?

Any person who, in receipt of acts under PC 484e or PC 484f to purchase goods, services or obtain money: uses an access card, credit card, access card account information or credit card information; or does the same with objective reasonableness knowing the access card or credit card is forged, expired or revoked; or does the same to obtain goods services, or money, without the consent of the cardholder stating that person is the registrant of an access card that has not been issued yet to the intended party

PC 484(g) – Prosecuting

What is an access card or credit card as defined under California Penal Code 484(g)?

An access card is any card, plate, code key, account number setting, or any means of account access that can be used by itself or with another form of access card to obtain money, goods, services or anything of consideration or value without the use of presenting a paper document.

What is a cardholder as defined under California Penal Code 484(g)?

A cardholder is a person who has been provided an access card by a card issuer or has been provided an access card by a card issuer to pay debts which derived from the use of the access card.

What is a card issuer as defined under California Penal Code 484(g)?

A card issuer is the company that arranges for the access card to be registered to a cardholder; or is an originally registered party to whom the access card was registered to who designates the access card’s use to another for a designated purpose; or is an agent of the company or registered party.

What is the definition of an expired access card under California Penal Code 484(g)?

An access card or credit card is considered expired when its designated expiration date, as observed on a time, date and year of that observation clearly shows the observation period is more current that the designated expiration date.

What is the definition of a revoked access card under California Penal Code 484(g)?

An access card or credit card is considered revoked when the card issuer no longer authorizes the cardholder to use the access card or credit card, by way of written notice.

What is the definition of altering as defined under California Penal Code 484(g)?

Altering is adding to a counterfeit access card or changing a legally registerable access card created by a card issuer in any part that voids the legal use and veracity of the card as originally created to affect the legal, financial or property right of another.

Is California Penal Code 484(g) a specific intent crime?

Yes. The person or company in reference to the violation must have acquired the intent to defraud prior to the completion of the conduct. The intent to defraud is the intent to deceive another person or company to cause a loss of money, goods, services, legal rights, financial rights, property right, or loss of genuine perceived value.

What is the definition of defrauding or forgery under California Penal Code 484(g)?

Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of a fact for gain at the misfortune of another targeted or in receipt of the information who must rely on the misrepresentation.

Can a business entity (501-3c or LLC, LP, S Corp) be charged with a violation of California Penal Code 484(g)?


PC 484(g) – Sentencing

What are the penalties for a violation of California Penal Code 484(g)?

A violation of California Penal Code 484(g) can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. If the goods, services and money obtained do not exceed $950 it is charged as a misdemeanor. If the goods, services, and money obtained equal or exceed $950 it is charged as a felony.

The exposure of confinement for a violation of California Penal Code 484(g) as a misdemeanor is no more than 1 year in State Jail. The exposure of confinement as a felony as dependent on the number of acts defined per credit card; the number of credit cards per act; the persons involved; and the severity of loss can be categorized confinement ranges 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in State Prison, unless 1 year of jail time or alternative punishment can be negotiated prior to a preliminary hearing and preferably during pretrial

Since this is a financial crime restitution might be required.

What is an example of a violation of California Penal Code 484(g)?

  1. Tre needed to purchase tickets to the Clippers game. He wanted the tickets to seal a memorable date night with Nicole. He did not have enough money to purchase the 2nd level floor seats which cost $1000 per seat for a total of $2000 dollars. While trying to purchase the tickets at his flat his friend Yule opened up her purse and told him to use her card as an early birthday present. She laughed at him and told him “ please use your oven mits” while using this one please; Yule’s friend Otto was in the room watching the Lakers game and heard the whole conversation. Tre while using the card looked at the designation and Yule’s name was spelt Yultide. Fortunately, the payment was processed and Tre was able to purchase the tickets. While watching the game with his date and sitting in the seats, the stadium security arrived and escorted Tre and Nicole from the seats into an interrogation room. Tre was informed by a Risk Mitigation Coordinator and an LAPD detective that the cardholder associated with the card Tre used to purchase the tickets filed a fraud claim with his issuer, as the purchases were made without his authorization. Tre was shown a video interrogation a few days later of Yule implicating Tre as using the card to purchase the tickets, and that he knew the credit card used was counterfeit as she told him, “the credit card was hot”. Nicole was released but Tre was arrested at the stadium and sent to a nearby jail to be booked.
  2. Teddy loved to joke around. So did his friends. Teddy went to his barber Ron, a Sunset Boulevard fade artist to the professional elite for a haircut that is valued at $100. Ron is no nonsense and feels that his clients need to take cutting up seriously. Teddy after getting his hair cut gave Ron a credit card to use. Ron was about to process the card with his Square App, when Teddy said, “Ron my man stop I am joking that card is counterfeit, here I have $100 in cash”. Ron is 6’5 and 310 pounds. Ron calmly went around Teddy, locked his studio door and called the police. Teddy was arrested by LAPD.

PC 484(g) – Defending

What are the defenses for a violation of California Penal Code 484(g)?

  1. Lacking Specific Intent to Defraud.
  2. Diminished Capacity.
  3. Necessity of a low-priced item equating to a novelty.
  4. Lack of knowledge that the card was acquired by nature of criminality.
  5. Renunciation of a further criminal act with substantial steps of mitigation prior to any charges filed for restitution and processing.
  6. Mistaken Identity.
  7. Duress.
  8. Lack of possession both actual and constructive.

PC 484(g) – Hire a Lawyer

If you are charged with a violation of California Penal Code 484(g), call The Esfandi Law Group, APLC. Seppi Esfandi, Principal Attorney of Esfandi Law Group, APLC, his staff, and Attorneys are delighted to discuss your legal issues and seek retainment to provide solutions.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

Charged with Credit Card Fraud? Call 310-274-6529
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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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