Access device fraud

Access device fraud

Access device fraud, otherwise known as Criminal Use of an Access Device, is the fraudulent use of a card, account number or any other means of illegally accessing an account in order to transfer funds or obtain money, goods, or services. Examples include using someone’s debit card without their permission or using a counterfeit credit card to make purchases.

Cases of access device fraud seem to be coming before the courts more frequently these days. On February 18, 2015 former NYPD officer John L. Montanez was sentenced to 28 months in prison for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. Montanez had agreed to provide another co-defendant, who later cooperated with law enforcement, with unsuspecting victim’s names and driver’s license numbers in return for stolen items. A search of his locker at his precinct yielded 16 identification documents in various victims’ names, such as driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and benefits cards.

You can be found guilty of Criminal Use of an Access Device in the Second Degree if you knowingly use an access device without the owner’s consent to obtain telecommunications services for yourself or someone else. This crime, a class A misdemeanor, is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, a year in jail or both. If you used the same access device to obtain services worth more than $1,000, then the offense becomes a Class E felony that could potentially send you to prison for four years.

Access device fraud can also be prosecuted in federal courts. The various types of fraud that fall under federal jurisdiction include creating, using and trafficking in counterfeit access devices and using unauthorized access devices during any one-year period to obtain goods worth $1,000 or more. If convicted as a first time offender, you could spend up to 15 years in prison.

With so much at stake, it is extremely important that you hire a criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested for access device fraud or believe that you are about to be. A conviction can send you to prison for years, especially if this is not your first offense. Even if you don’t serve time, a criminal record will cause you problems later on, so getting expert legal advice and support is strongly advised.

Your attorney can help you present a solid defense. Perhaps you had reasonable grounds to believe that you were authorized to use the device in question, or you never used it at all and now you’re being blamed for someone else’s crime. Whatever your situation, your attorney should have your best interests in mind and work for the most favorable results possible. Julie Rendelman is a New York criminal defense attorney with over 20 years of experience. She handles access device fraud cases as well as other fraud cases. For a free consultation or to set up an appointment, call 212-951-1232. Visit to learn more about Ms. Rendelman’s expertise.