Minnesota law criminalizes unlawful or unauthorized use of a financial transaction card. Penalties range from a gross misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.
What is a Financial Transaction Card?
Generally, financial transaction cards are credit and debit cards. But the legal definition is a bit more expansive. Financial transaction cards include any instrument or device – a credit card, courtesy card, bank services card, banking card, check guarantee card, debit card, electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, or assistance transaction card – issued for the use of obtaining credit, money, goods, services, public assistance benefits, or anything else of value.
What is Considered Financial Transaction Card Fraud?
In Minnesota, any person who does the following commits financial transaction card fraud:
(1) without the consent of the cardholder, and knowing that the cardholder has not given consent, uses or attempts to use a card to obtain the property of another, or a public assistance benefit issued for the use of another
(2) uses or attempts to use a card knowing it to be forged, false, fictitious
(3) sells or transfers a card knowing that the cardholder and issuer have not authorized the person to whom the card is sold
(4) without a legitimate business purpose, and without the consent of the cardholders, receives or possesses, with intent to use or sell.
Minnesota law also criminalizes any intent to defraud the cardholder, even if the defendant otherwise has lawful access to the financial card. For example, if a caretaker lawfully uses a patient’s financial card for specific purposes related to patient’s care, any unauthorized or deceitful use of that card, without consent from the patient, constitutes fraud, despite the caretaker otherwise having lawful access to the patient’s card.
Penalties for financial transaction fraud can be severe under Minnesota law. Depending on the value of frequently obtained property, penalties range from felony to gross misdemeanor.
Felony Financial Transaction Card Fraud
If the value of the property the person obtained or attempted to obtain was more than $35,000, to punishment includes up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $100,000.
If the value of the property the person obtained or attempted to obtain was more than $2,500, punishment includes up to ten years in prison and/or fine up to $20,000.
If the value of the property the person obtained or attempted to obtain was more than $250, but not more than $2,500, punishment includes up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Gross Misdemeanor Financial Transaction Card Fraud
Under Minnesota law, if the value of the property the person obtained or attempted to obtain was not more than $250, punishment includes up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $3000.