Credit fraud

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Credit fraud

I unknowingly had my girlfriends mother’s credit card info on my Amazon
account and it was charging her when I believed it was charging my card
info that was also included. I am currently on parole and not doing
anything to go back to prison. Can this be handled civilly and not
criminally, as I did not do it intentionally?

Asked on October 5, 2017 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF there is evidence that it was negligent (careless) and not intentional, it would be a civil, not criminal matter, because in that case, you would have had the criminal intent or state of mind ("mens rea") necessary to make this a crime. But if there is evidence that it was intentional, then it would be criminal. You way that was accidental, but your girlfriend's mother, the credit card company, and/or the authorities do not have to believe you. A critical issue: why did you have her credit card information you *your* online account in the first place? If there is no innocent explanation for how her information got on or associated with your account, you are unlikely to persuade anyone this was not deliberate or criminal. 
A good place to start would be with a voluntary offer to repay all amounts charged (ideally, all at once--get it over and done with) and deleting the information from your account; those acts will help prove or substantiate an innocent error.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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