WHAT IS AN “ACCESS DEVICE”?

Section 4106 of the Crimes Code provides a specific definition of “access device,” but in the vast majority of cases what is meant by access device is a credit card. In that regard, Section 4106 deals primarily with the crime of credit-card fraud, although it’s not necessarily limited to credit-card cases.

HOW IS ACCESS DEVICE FRAUD DEFINED IN PENNSYLVANIA?

A person commits access device fraud if they—

  • Use an access device to obtain, or attempt to obtain, property or services “with knowledge” that the access device is (i) counterfeit, altered or incomplete; (ii) issued to another who’s not authorized its use; (iii) has been revoked or canceled; or (iv) unauthorized, for any other reason, by the issuer or device holder;
  • Publish, make, sell, give, or transfer to another an access device, or offer or advertise or aid and abet any person to use an access device, having the knowledge about the access device outlined above; or
  • Possess an access device knowing that it is counterfeit, altered, incomplete, or belongs to another who’s not authorized its possession.

HOW SERIOUS IS ACCESS DEVICE FRAUD?

The personal use of an access device to obtain property or services is graded based upon the value of the property or services at issue:

  • If the value involved is $500 or more, then it’s a third-degree felony.
  • If the value involved is $50 or more but less than $500, then its a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • If the value involved is less than $50, then its a second-degree misdemeanor.

Attempts to have another fraudulently use an access device is a third-degree felony. And merely possessing an access device in the manner prohibited by Section 4106 is a second-degree misdemeanor.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?

A prosecution for access device fraud must be commenced within two years after it is committed.

 

If you or a loved one is charged with access device fraud, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, Ryan H. James, who has tried and argued these cases with successful results.  Attorney James can be personally reached at 412-977-1827, or by e-mail at ryan@rhjameslaw.com