Fraud occurs when an individual attempts to pass falsified information off as true in an effort to achieve a personal or financial gain. It exists in a number of forms, each of which is a serious charge carrying strict penalties in Tennessee.
Credit Card Fraud
Tennessee law prohibits the unauthorized possession and use of a credit or debit card. Under the law, individuals are prohibited from:
- Intentionally possessing a credit or debit card without receiving the owner’s consent
- Using a credit or debit card that they know is cancelled, expired, forged, revoked, or stolen to make a purchase
- Allowing another individual to use a credit or debit card that they know is cancelled, expired, forged, revoked, or stolen to make a purchase
Penalties for credit card fraud depend on the value of property or services fraudulently obtained. Generally, if the material is worth:
- $500 or less: the crime is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
- $500 to $1,000: the crime is a Class E felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000
- $1,000 to $10,000: the crime is a Class D felony punishable by 2 to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
- $10,000 to $60,000: the crime is a Class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- $60,000 or more: the crime is a Class B felony punishable by 8 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
It’s important to recognize that, even if no purchases were made, an individual is still guilty of credit card fraud if they wrongfully possess the card.
When an individual uses someone else’s identity and personal data – such as their Social Security number, address, and birthday – to impersonate them, they are committing identity theft.
Identity theft is a Class D felony. As such, it is punishable by two to twelve years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The individual may also be ordered to pay attorney fees and legal costs to the state.
One commits tax fraud when they intentionally underpay, or choose not to pay, their taxes. Common examples of tax fraud include:
- Failing to file a return
- Intentional violation of tax regulations
- Withholding important tax information
Depending on the details of the offense, individuals could face:
- Class C misdemeanor: punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $50 fine
- Class E felony: punishable by one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.
These are only three of the fraud offenses that our attorneys are prepared to defend clients against. If you or a loved one have been accused of fraud, contact Eldridge & Blakney.