PC 484(h) – Retailer Credit Card Fraud

PC 484 - Credit Card Fraud

Retailer Credit Card Fraud (or Information) – Table of Contents

PC 484h – Overview

What is Retailer Access Card or Credit Card Fraud (or information) as defined under California Penal Code 484h?

Any unknowing retailer who provides money, goods, or services to: Any person who sells, transfers, or conveys an access card or credit card without the card holder’s or issuer’s consent ; or any person who within a 12 month period, obtains or acquires more access cards or credit cards of more than 4 persons ; or any person who obtains or acquires an access card or credit card without that card holder’s or issuer’s consent with the intent to use, sell or transfer to another ; or any person who obtains or acquires access card or credit card information that was issued to another without that card holder’s consent (and after knowing does not seek remittance of such provisions from another)- Or any retailer who knows there exists a violation of PC 484e exists for the exchange of their money, goods, or services and continues to consummate the transaction;

Or Any person who presents a sales slip for payment, or evidence of an alleged access card used for payment to a retailer, without presenting a correlation of documentation showing that goods, services, money or other subject matter at issue relates to the presented slip or access card whose value equates the purchase or assumption of credit provided for later payment.

PC 484h – Prosecuting

What is forgery as defined under California Penal Code 484h?

Forgery is the physical altering or intentional misrepresentation of a subject matter or physical item at issue for which the subject matter or physical item is of significance to another who relies on its apparent veracity to make a subsequent decision or act, but then relies on the misrepresentation of fact to their detriment.

What is an access card or credit card as defined under California Penal Code 484h?

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 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 484h?

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 484h?

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 whom designates the access card’s use to another for a designated purpose; or is an agent of the company or registered party.

Is California Penal Code 484h 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, good, services, a legal right, financial right, property right, or loss of genuine perceived value.

What is the definition of defrauding under California Penal Code 484h?

Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of a fact for gain at the misfortune of another.

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


PC 484h – Sentencing

What are the penalties for a violation of California Penal Code 484h?

A violation of California Penal Code 484h can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony dependent on the circumstances. If during the transaction with the retailer, as described in Penal Code 484h (a) within a 6 month period does not exceed $950 dollars the act is charged as a misdemeanor; if the amount in reference within a 6 month period exceeds $950 dollars it is charged as a felony. As described in Penal Code 484h (b) if the difference of amount money, goods and services received or requested from the holder of the sales slip or access card has insufficient documents showing a discrepancy not benefiting the retailer but not exceeding $950 the act is charged as a misdemeanor; if the same does exceed $950 the act is charged as a felony.

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

  1. The Fur Shop- LA’s top selling OEM sock manufacture has for the past 6 months received custom orders totaling $300,000 from Toenatious Remedies, a retailer recently opened in Melrose Boulevard. The full delivery has been made to Toenatious Remedies and received as completed two weeks ago. Adam Toenatious Remedies’ Lead Buyer, Adam, used the company card to purchase the first two bulk shipments totaling $ 150,000, but did not wait for approval by his CEO, Lisa, to purchase the remaining two bulks which separately totaled $150,000. Adam purchased the remaining two bulks on credit and an assumed agreement of future payment by giving assurances of payment that assured the The Fur Shop CEO Linus that Adam had the money on the card, but as usual in the industry needed to offset other operating costs as a result of being solvent and aggressively growing. What Linus did not know was that Lisa only gave Adam $150,000 of actual monies to spend on the card but the expense card had a credit limit of $500,000. Adam told Lisa after the acquisition that the purchases totaled $150,000. Lisa was able to resell the socks to My Nations Bank with the Bank’s requested company logo. This was a custom order and Lisa ordered the logos herself to be placed on the bulk order. Lisa communicated this to Adam yesterday. Today, Linus contacted Adam to invite him to lunch to settle up the transaction and discuss a bright future. Adam accepted the invitation. Adam met Linus, and prior to lunch gave him the company card and told him not to worry. True, Linus did not worry about the details over lunch, but used his Square Application, after lunch to debit the remaining amounts on the Company card. The Card was declined. Embarrassed at his favorite West Hollywood dinning Linus, cursed Adam, and called Lisa on speaker phone. Lisa quickly informed Linus of the lack of authorization for the full $ 300,000 as she felt Adam knew the spending limits. Lisa rushed to the lunch location, showed Linus her agreement with Adam. As a grace of good business she placed the remaining order on her personal AMEX Black Card, but fired Adam on the spot. Linus, at the same time called the LAPD, after Lisa and Linus explained the circumstances, Adam was arrested at the lunch table.

PC 484h – Defending

What are the defenses for a violation of California Penal Code 484h

  1. Lacking Specific Intent to Defraud.
  2. Diminished Capacity.
  3. Lack of knowledge that the card was acquired by nature of criminality.
  4. Mistake in fact of an ongoing agreement.
  5. Course of Dealings which permitted forbearance to settle the transaction later.
  6. Duress.
  7. Mistake in fact that the card was activated when it was not by mistaken authorization.

PC 484h – Hire a Lawyer

If you are charged with a violation of California Penal Code 484h, call The Esfandi Law Group, APLC. Seppi Esfandi, Principal Attorney of The 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

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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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