Commentary

MILAM COUNTY T.R.I.A.D.

New law strengthens credit card crime penalty
Ted Hubert

A new law addressing credit card fraud became affective Jan. 2 in Texas. It puts more teeth in the law.

Punishment is enhanced, if the victim or victims are elderly. The jail time is five times greater than fraud against the younger victims.

The risk of spending two years in jail is bad enough, but to think of losing your freedom for 10 years is devastating, I would think.

The problem is that thieves do not think they will get caught. They are smarter than law enforcers, they think.

They should look at the number of inmates in jails or prisons in the United States. Then they should ask the question: Is the risk really worth it? Get a job and earn a living.

All citizens of Texas are innocent until proven guilty Prosecutors need to show the criminal intent to defraud for personal gain. So if the defendant used the credit card, knowing it was not theirs, they are in trouble. If a person uses a card that has been revoked, expired or canceled, they should be convicted as a felon.

Using a card that is known to have fictitious or pretended numbers is another consideration that proves criminal intent.

The prosecutor might have evidence to show that the criminal received something of value.

This benefit could send them to prison for a time up to ten years. A person that steals a credit card with the intent of using it, selling it to someone other than the rightful owner or being involved in any other scheme to transfer the card is a felony.

In like manner, if the defendant bought a card knowing the seller of the credit card is not the rightful holder of the credit card, and it is proven, the crime is classified as a felon.

What if the card was not stolen or bought? What if the card was found? Can it legally be sold? Well, no.

It is a felony to sell a credit card or debit card to anyone. Those caught selling these cards will be arrested and charged with a felony.

In fact, you can be convicted as a felon, if you have a card that is not issued to you. But it must be proven that you were going to use it for personal gain. Here’s the law:

The crime of credit card fraud is a state jail felony. This carries with it a penalty of 180 days to two years in a state prison and/ or a fine of no more than $10,000. However, if the offense was committed against an elderly person, the charge may be increased to that of a third degree felony. A third degree felony carries a penalty of two to ten years in a state prison and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.” Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 32, Section 32.31.

Milam County TRIAD stresses lawfulness. Teach children (grandchildren) to obey rules, regulations, laws and to respect authority, so they will grow up to be contributors rather than prisoners.

Remember, crime does not pay. Our society protects the youth and elderly, so the punishment for abusing children and senior citizens should carry a stiffer penalty and, as you can see, it does.

ted@myalpha1.net


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2013-01-10 digital edition



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