The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

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Posted on in Fraud

fraud, Kane County criminal defense attorneyNot all crimes are violent in nature, but they can still have serious consequences for those found guilty of committing them. Financial crimes such as advertising scams, internet fraud, and fraudulent credit card charges can damage a person’s credit score and negatively affect businesses. Many people who open their bank account or wallet only to realize they have been stolen from ask the same question, "Who must pay for fraudulent charges?"

Credit Card Fraud in Illinois

There are several Illinois state and federal consumer laws that address credit card theft. Credit card payments processed by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are subject to a "zero liability" policy. This means that the owner of a credit card which is compromised is not held responsible for any fraudulent charges. Fortunately, consumers do not have to pay for charges which they did not make, but they do have a responsibility to tell their credit card company about the fraudulent charges as soon as they find them.

If a person’s credit card company does not have a zero liability policy and their card is used fraudulently, the most they will be required to pay back is $50 – the limit set by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). Debit cards are not treated the same as credit cards, so it is possible that those with debit cards may be help responsible for fraudulent charges made on them. The sooner you report the stolen card to the bank, the better. Sometimes a credit card number is stolen but not the physical card. In this case, a consumer is not responsible for paying those charges as long as they report the charges within 60 days of their credit card statement.

Criminal Charges for Credit Card Fraud

The use of a counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked, or unissued credit or debit card is a Class 3 felony if more than $300 worth of property was obtained in a six-month period. Possession of another person’s credit card, the sale or purchase of a debit or credit card, and the making of a false statement in order to procure a debit or credit card are considered class 4 felonies. A person found guilty of one of these crimes can face punitive consequences of one to three years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.

Facing Charges?

If you have been accused of credit or debit card fraud, contact a Kane County criminal defense attorney for the legal guidance you need. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation with The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.


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Posted on in Fraud

skimmer, Elgin criminal defense attorneyIn the past, thieves used to have to steal physical property or cash in order to get their payout. Today, much of the money floating around the United States is stored electronically as data, and is transferred via digital transactions. Thus, most people own a debit card and a credit card or two. Virtually anyone who has one or more such cards may have unknowingly been exposed to one of the most complex credit card fraud schemes yet.

If you have ever used an ATM, you are familiar with the plastic slot in which you place your debit or credit card in order to withdraw money from your account. Similar slots are also present on gas pumps and other self-payment machines. According to the Chicago Police Department, some of these innocuous looking plastic slots are actually intricately-designed devices called encoders or skimmers which are capable of stealing a person’s debit or credit card information. Many people whose information is stolen by a encoder are scammed and do not even realize it. Often, it is only when mysterious purchases show up on a credit card statement or there are insufficient funds in an account does the victim realize they have been deceived.

Fraudsters Face Serious Consequences

Just because this method of capturing credit or debit card information does not involve physically stealing from another person does not mean that the criminal penalties are less strict than other types of theft. In Illinois, a person who unlawfully uses a scanning or re-encoding device with the intent to defraud is guilty of a class 4 felony. This becomes a class 3 felony for any subsequent offenses. A class 4 felony can result in up to $25,000 in fines and up to three years in prison. A class 3 felony can result in up to 25,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.

Just the act of stealing the credit card information is a crime itself. A person who unlawfully uses a financial transaction device to capture, copy or transmit or otherwise obtain personal information without the consent of the person will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor which can result in fines of up to $2500 and up to one year in county jail. The severity of criminal punishment can vary based on the amount of money stolen and the fraudster’s criminal history.

Facing Charges?

If you have been charged with using a credit card skimmer to commit fraud, you need an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney who will help you understand your options going forward and build the best plan possible for your defense. Call The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.


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credit card, Elgin criminal defense attorneyCrimes that affect our wallets, bank accounts, and credit scores do more than interfere with our personal finances. They affect businesses and everyone depending on funds and income derived from those businesses. Advertising scams, internet fraud, and identity theft are not new crimes—they have been hurting consumers and business owners alike for years—but they do continue to evolve and increase in severity over time. One of the most prevalent and troublesome financial crimes today is credit card fraud, and the first thing that most consumers want to know when they discover they are victims of this theft is who will be held responsible.

Who Must Pay for Fraudulent Charges?

There are various Illinois state and federal consumer laws that address this issue in order to protect consumers victimized by credit card theft. For example, you are legally required to pay $50 per card, at most, in the event that someone steals and uses your credit cards. The moment you notify the bank or issuer of the card(s) that the card has been stolen, you are not legally required to pay for any unauthorized charges that incur after that notification.

Notifying the Bank

Although you are not bound by law to pay for unauthorized purchases on your card, timing is important. It is crucial to report the lost or stolen card immediately, as it is very common for thieves to rack up credit limits on stolen cards within hours or even minutes of the theft, leaving you responsible for any potential charges from that moment on. The sooner you report the card to the bank, the less you will be held responsible for when it comes time to address the charges on the account. It is also recommended that you follow up with written confirmation of your notification after you call the bank to report the case. Document everything, paying special attention to the time, date, and any details surrounding the fraudulent charges.

Other Important Details

There are number of things to keep in mind if you think that may have been the victim of credit card fraud:

  • Federal law states you should notify a card issuer of a lost or stolen card via written notification immediately, particularly within 60 days of the event. The issuer is required to respond to your notification within 30 days of receipt;
  • You have zero liability if you make your report before any fraudulent charges are made, or limited to $50 if you report within two days. After that, you can be liable for up to $500 or more within a 60-day period; and
  • If your card is not lost but only the number is used to make unauthorized purchases, you are not responsible for paying any of those charges as long as you report them within 60 days of your credit card statement.

Most credit card issuers offer credit monitoring programs, and you can take a proactive approach to monitoring yourself by being vigilant with your account statements and activity. Fraudulent charges, however, can still slip through the cracks.

Criminal Charges for Credit Card Fraud

While there are resources available to help consumers protect themselves financially, being charged with credit card fraud can change your life, especially if the allegations are not true. If you have been accused of using fraudulently using another person’s credit card, contact a Kane County criminal defense attorney today. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.


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Posted on in Fraud

credit card fraud, deceptive practice, Aurora Criminal Defense LawyerOn almost a daily basis, ad campaigns and law enforcement groups remind the public about the dangers of falling victim to credit card fraud, but what if the tables were turned? Money was running low, and you desperately needed groceries. Using your friend's card may not have been the right thing to do, but in the moment, it felt like the only option.

However, now you are facing charges of fraud, and the money you spent could lead to you spending time behind bars. According to Illinois law, if you are convicted of credit card fraud, you could face fines of up to $10,000, and serve up to 20 years in prison depending on the nature of the offense.

What Constitutes Fraud?

Fraud is committed when a person who is not the cardholder uses a credit or debit card without the cardholder's permission. It does not matter whether the offender is an identity thief looking to bleed an account dry, or a teenager swiping his or her grandparents’ card to buy a videogame; it is still a crime.

What Are the Consequences?

As with most criminal prosecutions, the severity of the charges and associated penalties are based upon the circumstances of a particular case. While such considerations take into account large number of factors, one of the most significant is amount of money involved.

In Illinois, most credit card fraud crimes are classified as class 4 felonies. However, if your intent was to obtain less than $150 in property over a six-month period, then the crime will typically be classified as a class A misdemeanor.

The courts will also take into account whether this was your first or subsequent offense. A first-time offender will typically face fines and probation. However, if it is your second offense, incarceration is a serious possibility. The penalties could be even more severe if the charges involve defrauding an account across international borders.

How to Handle Your Charges

If you are facing charges for debit or credit card fraud, an experienced Kane County criminal defense lawyer. At the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we understand the law and recognize the importance of protecting your future. Our team will meet with you to review your situation, help you analyze your options, and work toward building a reliable, responsible defense. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free consultation today. Sources:

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