The fallout from the massive and historical credit card fraud at Target Department Stores over Christmas is still causing a ripple effect through law enforcement agencies across the country. Not only are federal and state agencies working hand-in-hand to crack this Target credit card fraud case, but the case also reveals how aggressively police in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and Norwalk are investigating and prosecuting identity theft and credit card fraud cases locally.
The Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich and Darien police departments are frequently investigating credit card fraud rings in or around Southern Connecticut. The big box department stores in these towns, coupled with the fancy, high-end retail boutiques provide prime stomping ground for credit card rings and, in response, we are seeing many more law enforcement stings and efforts targeting these rings. Top Greenwich and Stamford identity theft criminal lawyers will all agree that prosecutors and judges have little patience or leniency for these crimes, as they not only cause financial loss to the victim stores and their respective insurers, but can also wreak financial and personal havoc and ruin on the individuals whose identities are being stolen and manipulated.
Identity Theft is a felony in Connecticut and comes in various degrees of seriousness, depending on the amount of money obtained. The crime is codified in C.G.S. § 53a-129a, and is charged when a person knowingly uses somebody else’s personal identifying information to obtain goods and services. As top Stamford Connecticut Identity Theft lawyers will attest to, personally identifying information includes but is not limited to your name, driver’s license number, social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, passport number, credit card number, and bank account numbers. Any unauthorized use of any single one of these pieces of information can result in a felony charge.
Also, when credit cards are involved as instruments of a crime, Connecticut police also charge Forgery of Symbols under C.G.S. 53a-142, which is a Class A misdemeanor. With this crime, you can be arrested for presenting an actual credit card that either does not belong to you, or you are not authorized to use. What’s even more concerning is that you can be charged with this crime even if you are in simple possession of stolen credit cards. We often see clients who are arrested or stopped for an unrelated charge, and when their wallets are searched, suddenly they find themselves arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Norwalk for Forgery of Symbols under 53a-142.
Technically it’s not legal. But when you are using credit cards with the owner’s permission, and the retailer agrees to run the card, then this usually presents a good faith defense to any future accusations of criminal conduct. We all know that in everyday retail practice, it’s not unusual for a boss to give an employee a credit card to run and go get coffee or run errands. Same situation with family members. However, with all the credit card fraud going on in Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich, Darien, and elsewhere in Connecticut these days, it is always best not to use other people’s credit cards. Most transactions are digitally recorded so it is very easy for retail stores to track down a card swipe to you. Your digital “fingerprints” are indelibly left on every one of your credit card transactions so make sure you are not swiping someone else’s card illegally.
The experienced criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law regularly take on 53a-129 Identity Theft and 53a-142 Credit Card cases. We take police and prosecutors to task and examine all of the police reports, search warrants, and electronic and digital evidence that the government claims they have against our Identity Theft clients. When Darien, Stamford, and Greenwich launch a credit card sting, they often arrest a number of people and charge them with Conspiracy under C.G.S. 53a-48. In Conspiracy cases, police and prosecutors often hope one or more suspects will turn on their co-conspirators and help the government build a case against the non-cooperators.
That’s where we step in. The attorneys at Mark Sherman Law have seen this conspiracy egg shell came played out all too often, and will aggressively defend you against all the moving parts of a 53a-129 Identity Theft Conspiracy case. We will move to suppress coerced confessions of co-conspirators and will try to force the prosecution to lay out all of its promises and concessions that they make to any cooperators. All the while, we will do our best to make sure your constitutional rights are preserved—and reserved—during your case, with the sole goal to get you the best result possible under your Identity Theft case’s circumstances.
While we generally represent those accused of Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Norwalk, we also represent victims of these crimes in the criminal court process. Too often we see victims of these crimes not recoup their losses and have to go out of pocket. While the criminal court system will do its best to make you whole, the Victim Representation Practice at Mark Sherman Law will go the extra mile in helping you get your money and losses back, as well as pressuring those responsible to jump through even more hoops, such as protecting your identity and credit going forward by requiring them to purchase Lifelock or other credit report protection systems on an annual basis for you as part of any settlement or resolution of a criminal case. We appreciate how invasive these crimes are, how much stress and anxiety being a victim is in Identity Theft case, and as victim attorneys, we will fight for you in the criminal courts and, if needed, even file civil lawsuits on behalf of you or your family members who have been victimized.
Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud crimes are serious, especially with all the cybercrimes that have wreaked havoc on this country’s financial system. So if you have been charged with Identity Theft crimes under 53a-129 or Possession of Forged Symbols under 43a-142, contact a Stamford Connecticut-based criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. Our rates are fair, and we are available 24/7. Call us today at (203) 358-4700.