Sentencing for credit card fraud

What is the sentence for credit card fraud?

It’s no surprise that prosecutors are finding credit card fraud increasingly difficult to beat. Crimes are becoming more sophisticated and offenders are becoming better at hiding the paper trail. With credit card fraud and debit card fraud being international crimes, it can be challenging to build a case. To confuse matters all the more, some of those accused of credit card fraud have had their details stolen through identity fraud but are innocent.

credit card fraud

To help you to understand what the outcome might be as a result of being convicted of credit card fraud, we’ve detailed the sentencing guidelines below.  Please note that a competent and experienced solicitor may be able to get any prison sentence reduced or even avoid it entirely.

Have you been charged with or arrested for Credit Card Fraud?   

Anybody who is charged with or arrested for credit card fraud is going to find themselves very frightened. A situation of this nature will bring out anxiety, worry and nerves about what the outcome might be.

If you know that you haven’t committed a crime, but you’re still being accused then your priority needs to be getting your name cleared. Securing a competent credit card fraud to build a defence for you and to support you is critical. In some situations, they may even be able to get the case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.

What type of actions are considered credit card fraud?

Here are some examples of the type of credit card fraud cases that may have led to the situation in hand.

Debit card fraud – for instance, somebody may gain access to a person’s debit card and use it to access cash from an ATM or to buy something in retail outlets.

Skimming (cloning) – for example, the details about a card will be stolen, and the information held on the magnetic strip is ‘skimmed’ and used to create a duplicate card. This card is then used at leisure, without the owner of the original card being aware.

Internet fraud – an example of this might be when a person’s bank card is used online to make a purchase, and a hacker obtains the card details. In some cases, malicious merchant sites are established with the sole intention of getting people to use their cards so that funds can be accessed and details swiped.

These are just a few examples of credit card fraud; there are several others. If you would like to know more about crimes that are categorised as credit card fraud or debit card fraud, you can always contact us for more information. Call us on 0208 888 5225 and we will do what we can to provide you with answers.

What is the average sentence for credit card fraud offences?

A credit card fraud case that goes to court and results in a conviction will typically get a prison sentence of four or five years, and more for severe cases.

How does a court decide on the seriousness of the credit card fraud offence for sentencing purposes? 

The information that judges are given with regards to sentencing are only guidelines, and each case will be looked at individually. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following factors are considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Your previous conviction
  • The degree of your remorse

What are some of the mitigating factors that might reduce the credit card fraud offence sentence?

When sentencing for credit card fraud, your case will be investigated thoroughly by the police and other regulatory agents.

Your case will be studied to see if you have taken part in a group activity or to see if you were forced into it taking part in the offence. Whether you have used a false identity, or you have used the identity of others to access more funds will be considered to decide your sentence.

Certain aspects of a case are known as the mitigating aspects which can influence the sentence that a judge gives. One of the factors judges consider in every case of this nature is the defendant’s level of genuine remorse.

The following are some of the other factors considered when the court decides which sentence to give. They will look at:

  • Any previous conviction
  • Your level of remorse
  • Your level of cooperation with the investigation
  • Whether the activity you took part in was originally legitimate
  • Your reputation / good character
  • Whether you have any serious medical conditions that require long term, urgent or intensive treatment
  • Whether you have a learning disability or a mental disorder
  • Whether you are the sole or primary carer for related dependents

Is it possible to reduce a sentence for credit card fraud with a guilty plea?

In recent years, several changes have been made to the sentencing system in the UK to save the court time and cost and to protect witnesses from the stress of needlessly going through a trial. For offenders aged 18 and over, pleading guilty early on in a case can reduce a sentence by as much as one third (maximum). The later the plea is entered, the smaller the reduction.

‘Early on’ refers to ‘the first stage of the proceedings’ and means anytime up to and including the first hearing at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court for indictable offences.

If a plea is entered 14 days after the first hearing, for example, the maximum level of reduction is just 20% or one-fifth of the sentence. For indictable offences, the limit for a guilty plea to be made is within 28 days after the prosecutor has stated compliance with section 3 of CPIA 1996 and serving disclosure; although the decision is ultimately in the hands of the Judge who has discretion to apply whatever credit is deemed appropriate.

After these times there is a sliding scale of credit applied. This goes down to one-tenth on the first day of the trial and zero if entered during the course of the trial. In theory, the ten per cent could be given if the plea is issued after the opening speeches on the first day, but prior to any witness evidence being heard.

If the accused does not want to plead guilty, then it’s important for the solicitor to regularly inform the court throughout the trial of the reasons why the client’s plea is not guilty.

What are some of the other consequences of the credit card fraud offence?

Ancillary Orders

A court can also make ancillary orders on a defendant if they are found guilty and convicted of a credit card fraud offence. These are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a dependent’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.

Ancillary orders that are typically added to the penalty for those who are found to be guilty of mortgage fraud include:

  • Compensation for loss
  • Restraint orders
  • Reparation orders
  • Financial reporting order
  • Prevented from applying for any form of credit including mortgages and loans
  • Confiscation orders

As part of your investigation, you may also have your assets frozen with the possibility of having cash or other assets seized.

In addition, the court may demand payment of the following if the accused is convicted:

Payment of costs applied for by the prosecutors

Although the police meet some of the costs involved in the prosecution, the costs of investigation are typically sought from the convicted. These may include the costs of:

  • The work done in obtaining sufficient evidence for prosecution either at the initial stage or later at the request of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
  • Seeking medical or expert evidence as part of the investigation, (where a witness is required to attend Court, the cost of the attendance falls on the CPS).
  • Re-interviewing witnesses
  • The entire costs of the prosecutor, including fees for the use of external Barristers used by the CPS, can be recovered from the defendant, subject to means. At the end of the case, the prosecutor under The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 will request the Judge to order a sum to be paid for the costs incurred by the prosecutor in bringing the prosecution.

Victims surcharges

The term victims’ surcharges can be explained as paying compensation to a fund for victims and can range between £20 to £170 depending on what sentence you were given at conviction.

How sentences can be added to national information databases

There are several national databases that hold information about individuals and any allegations made about them, their criminal and court records. These include the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) which was previously known as the CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) and the Police National Computer (PNC).  Depending on what happened, whether the accused is convicted and what sentence was issued, the accused may be added to one or all these databases. Their purpose is to provide information to potential employers and to regulate the ability to take part in certain activities.

If your case progresses to court and you are convicted of mortgage fraud, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of your sentence.

Below are details on how long you will be listed as holding a criminal record if convicted. This is something very serious to consider when it comes to future employment. The term ‘spent’ refers to when your name can be removed from the databases.

Rehabilitation Period
(the time it takes for the sentence to become ‘spent’)
Sentence Adult (aged 18+) at time of conviction Young person (aged under 18) at time of conviction
Prison sentences of more than 4 years Sentence is never spent Sentence is never spent
Prison sentences of more than 2.5 years (30 months) but less than 4 years Sentence length 7 years Sentence length 3.5 years
Prison sentences of more than 6 months but less than 2.5 years (30 months) Sentence length +4 years Sentence length +2 years
Prison sentences of less than 6 months Sentence length + 2 years Sentence length +18 months
Conditional Discharge Length of order Length of order
Absolute Discharge None None
Conditional Caution 3 months 3 months
Simple Caution / Youth Caution None – immediately ‘spent’ None – immediately ‘spent’
Other Including Compensation Order, Supervision Order, Bind Over, Hospital Order Length of the order / once compensation is paid Length of the order / once compensation is paid

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

The fraud lawyers at Stuart Miller have defended those accused of the banking and credit card fraud at all levels.  No matter what role you played in a credit card fraud case, Stuart Miller Solicitors have substantial expertise in understanding the situation of your case, your circumstances and how the prosecution will seek to prosecute you.

Owing to daily handling of fraud cases, our credit card fraud solicitors have the very best Barristers and QCs to choose from. We can instruct international agents to make enquiries abroad; we can engage financial experts to analyse the trail of funds, we can work with telephony experts and computer evidence evaluation experts to build your defence case.

Our reputation is very important to us but we at Stuart Miller Solicitors also rely on past Notable Cases to speak of our remarkable abilities in this field.

When should you discuss your case with an expert credit card fraud solicitor?

In any legal case, early action is pivotal to increasing the chances of success. In cases of this nature, you will require specialist advice at every step. If you have been served with a Restraint Order, you have had cash seized or your money confiscated; rest assured our fraud lawyers will advise you on all aspects of the fraud investigation or prosecution.

Whether you are facing allegations of Fraud by False Representation, Fraud by Failing to Disclose Information, Making or Supplying Articles for use in Fraud or on the larger end of the spectrum, for Conspiracy to Defraud or Money Laundering; please Contact Us and ask to speak to our fraud solicitors.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

Please Contact Us and ask to speak to our credit card fraud lawyers and financial fraud solicitors to arrange a meeting in person, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can WhatsApp us from the link you will find at the bottom banner if you open this page on your mobile phone device.

Get in touch with us now for credit card fraud legal help.

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