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K.
Financial Transaction Card Crime Act

1. Generally

This Act, embodied in S.C. Code Ann. §16-14-10 et.seq., concerns several crimes involving financial transaction cards, common known as credit cards and bank cards. This Act covers the following offenses:

a. Financial transaction card theft (§16-14-20)
b. Financial transaction card forgery (§16-14-40)
c. Financial transaction card fraud (§16-14-60)
d. Criminal possession of financial transaction card forgery devices (§16-14-70)
e. Criminally receiving goods and services fraudulently obtained (§16-14-80)

The following is a brief outline of the Act. Consult the S.C. Code when dealing with any provision of the Act.

2. Penalties

None of these offenses is triable in magistrate or municipal court. Each offense, or degree thereof, included in the Act specifies punishment upon conviction as provided in either §16-14-100(a) or §16-14-100(b). §16-14-100(a) provides that crimes which are punishable thereunder are misdemeanors, and upon conviction, a defendant is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both. §16-14-100(b) provides that crimes which are punishable thereunder are felonies, and upon conviction, a defendant is subject to a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.

3. Financial Transaction Card (FTC)

"Financial transaction card" or "FTC" means any instrument or device whether known as a credit card, credit plate, bank services card, banking card, check guarantee card, debit card, or by any other name, issued with or without fee by an insurer for the use of the cardholder;

(a) in obtaining money, goods, services, or anything of value on credit;
(b) in certifying or guaranteeing to a person or business the availability to the cardholder of funds on deposit that are equal to or greater than the amount necessary to honor a draft or check payable to the order of such person or business;
(c) in providing the cardholder access to a demand deposit account or time deposit account for the purpose of;
  1. making deposits of money or checks therein,
  2. withdrawing funds in the form of money, money orders, or traveler's checks therefrom,
  3. transferring funds from any demand deposit account or time deposit account to any other demand deposit account or time deposit account,
  4. transferring funds from any demand deposit account or time deposit account to any credit card accounts, overdraft privilege accounts, loan accounts, or any other credit accounts in full or partial satisfaction of any outstanding balance owed existing therein,
  5. for the purchase of goods, services or anything else of value,
  6. obtaining information pertaining to any demand deposit account or time deposit account.

For definitions of other words and terms used in the Act, see S.C. Code Ann. §16-14-10.

4. Financial Transaction Card Theft

  § 16-14-20 - CDR Code 0348

This offense involves the possession of an FTC or the number of an FTC without the consent of the person whose name appears on the card, with the intent to use the card, sell the card, or transfer the card to a person other than the issuer or the person whose name appears on the card. This offense is a Felony, and punishable pursuant to §16-14-100(b). Fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

5. Financial Trasnaction Card Forgery

  §16-14-40 - CDR Code 0041

This offense involves the making or alteration of FTC's, putting such FTC's into circulation, or signing an FTC, when one is not the person whose name appears on the FTC. There must be fraudulent intent to defraud (1) the issuer, (2) a person or organization providing money, goods or services, or (3) any other person. This offense is a Felony, and punishable by a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.

6. Financial Transaction Card Fraud

  § 16-14-60) - CDR Codes 731, 732, 1205-1207, 2349-2351

This offense covers various uses of an FTC with the intent to defraud the issuer, a person or organization providing money, goods or services, or any other person. These uses include obtaining money, goods or services with an FTC which is known to be illegally made, altered or obtained using an FTC to deposit, by means of an automated banking device, any forged, altered or otherwise improper check, draft or money order, receiving money, goods, or services. If the value of the money, goods or services received in violation of these provisions does not exceed $500 in any six month period, the offense constitutes a Class A Misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 1 year, or both. If the value of such money, goods or services is greater than $500 in any six month period, the offense is a felony punishable by a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both.

Another use which is prohibited pursuant to this section is to knowingly and wilfully exceed the authorized credit limit on an FTC account by $500 or 50% of such credit limit, whichever amount is greater, and fail to repay to the issuer such excess over the credit limit within ten days after notice of such excess is sent by certified mail. Failure to pay such excess within ten days of notice constitutes prima facie evidence of fraudulent intent. Conviction of this offense constitutes a misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both.

A person who is authorized by the issuer to accept an FTC in exchange for money, goods or services is guilty of an offense under §16-14-60(b) if he, with intent to defraud the issuer of cardholder (1) accepts an FTC which has been stolen or is otherwise illegally retained pursuant to §16-14-20, or (2) accepts an FTC which he knows is forged, expired or revoked, or (3) fails to furnish money, goods or services which he represents in writing to the issuer that he has furnished. Upon conviction for an offense under §16-14-60(b), the accused will be sentenced according to the amount of money, goods, or property involved. If the value of the money, goods, or property furnished or the difference between the value actually furnished and the value represented to the issuer to have been furnished does not exceed $500 in any six month period, the offense is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both. If such value is greater than $500 in any six month period, the offense is a felony punishable by a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.

A further instance of FTC fraud is set out in §16-14-60(c) and involves giving false information to the insurer of an FTC when one fills out the application for such FTC. If an applicant for an FTC knowingly makes or causes to be made false statements or reports regarding (1) name, (2) occupation, (3) financial condition, (4) assets, or (5) liabilities, he may be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both. Any willful and substantial overvaluation of assets, or any willful omission or substantial undervaluation of an indebtedness is prohibited under this section.

It is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both, for a cardholder to willfully, knowingly, and with intent to defraud the issuer, person or organization providing money, goods or services, or any other person, to submit a false report, oral or written, of the loss, theft, disappearance or nonreceipt of an FTC. Such acts are set out §16-14-60(d) as an FTC fraud.

For purposes of §16-14-60, a cardholder has notice of the revocation of an FTC and such revocation is immediate, upon notice being given in person. The sending of notice of revocation by registered or certified mail in a properly stamped envelope addressed to the cardholder at the last address known to the issuer shall constitute prima facie evidence of notice to the cardholder after seven days from the date of mailing. If the address is outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Canal Zone and Canada, the cardholder is presumed to have received notice of revocation of the FTC after ten days from the date of mailing.

7. Criminal Possession of Financial Transaction Card Forgery Devices

  §16-14-70 - CDR 0020

This offense involves (1) the possession by a person, other than the named cardholder, of two or more incomplete FTC's with the intent to complete them without the consent of the issuer, or (2) the possession with knowledge of its character of machinery, plates, or any other devices designed to make an item purporting to be an FTC of an issuer who has not consented to the making of such FTC. Conviction under this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.

For purposes of this section, and FTC is "incomplete" when any of the information which the issuer requires to appear on an FTC before it can be used (except the cardholder's signature) has not been stamped, embossed, imprinted, encoded, or written on the FTC.

8. Criminally Receiving Goods or Services Fraudulently Obtained

  §16-14-80 - CDR Codes 733, 2370

This offense involves the receipt of money, goods, services or anything else of value obtained in violation of §16-14-60(a) with the knowledge or belief that such money, goods, services, or other things of value were obtained in violation of §16-14-60(a). (See FINANCIAL TRANSACTION CARD FRAUD above). If the value of the money, goods, or property furnished or the difference between the value actually furnished and the value represented to the issuer to have been furnished does not exceed $500 in any six month period, the offense is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both. If such value is greater than $500 in any six month period, the offense is punishable by a fine of not less than $3,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.