Birmingham white collar crime cases have been proliferating in recent years.
One example is a man facing federal charges of credit card fraud, after police say he was producing counterfeit cards at his residence in Homewood. Birmingham defense attorneys understand that originally, the criminal complaint was filed back in late February, but it didn’t become public until just recently.
Here, authorities have opted to charge him with federal crimes, which is not uncommon, given the likelihood that such crimes can have tentacles stretching out across state lines. If the case were to be prosecuted at the state level, it would possibly fall under Alabama Criminal Code 13A-9-3, which is forgery in the second-degree, a Class B felony. This statute makes it illegal to falsely make any commercial instrument (such as a credit card) that could alter rights to property (such as money). Additional statutes might include Alabama Criminal Code 13A-9-5, criminal possession of forged instruments (a Class B felony), or Alabama Criminal Code Section 13A-9-9, criminal possession of a forgery device (a Class C felony).
In a lot of these cases, law enforcement agencies might expend a great deal of time and energy into cornering you. But operations like this often involve more than one individual, and proving individual responsibility can be tricky. Equally, there is the possibility that searches or seizures may have been illegal or that there simply isn’t enough strong evidence upon which to convict you.
Because the potential penalties for these crimes are so severe, you need an attorney who can aggressively pursue these possible defenses.
In this case, the defendant was reportedly arrested when police said he used a phony credit card at a local Sam’s Club to purchase several cartons of cigarettes. A cashier and loss prevention officer were reportedly the ones to spot it.
That led to the involvement of federal agents, who reportedly found 10 fake credit cards on the defendant’s person at the time of his arrest. Each of those cards had encoded magnetic strips that had allegedly been altered to match up to account numbers different than those reflected on the actual card face.
Federal agents then searched the suspect’s vehicle, allegedly finding another 39 phony credit cards. Additionally, they found nearly 200 cartons of cigarettes, which were purchased from various stores in the area, using those fake cards.
Agents say the defendant did confess he was planning to resell those cigarettes in Georgia.
An accomplice was subsequently identified in North Carolina, and federal authorities arrested that individual as well.
A few days later, agents came to the defendant’s home, armed with a search warrant. There, they reportedly discovered a large suitcase that contained laptop computers, a device used to re-encode credit cards and white, unmarked cards that had magnetic strips on the back.
The 46-year-old was indicted on charges of possessing counterfeit cards, possessing counterfeit card-making tools and aggravated identity theft.
Given the apparent weight of the evidence here, a criminal defense lawyer might focus on the extent of his involvement, as opposed to whether he was involved. Additionally, he might consider working to negotiate a favorable plea deal.