How can I avoid credit card fraud and ID theft charges? 29 Answers as of August 31, 2011

I used my wife's ID to obtain credit card loan. I couldn't pay the over $10,000 credit card debt. She is suing against me for credit card fraud and ID theft. What should I do to avoid criminal charges.

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Criminal charges are up the prosecutor and the prosecutor alone. However, the more cooperative you are and by starting a restitution plan, that will only serve to make things easier on you in the criminal case. Retain an experienced criminal attorney to represent you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Say nothing to any one. Settle the case with her.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/8/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However, there is not much you can do to avoid criminal charges except for asking your wife not to press criminal charges. She may be satisfied with just suing you in civil court and not intend to file criminal charges. If she does file criminal charges then hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/8/2011
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
Don't commit crimes and call me immediately.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/6/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
Your best option is to hire a Criminal Defense attorney who will be able to work to either fight charges against you or attempt to negotiate their reduction or dismissal.

Every case is different and you would therefore have to explain the details of your situation with an attorney.

If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, we invite you to contact our firm at the information on this page to determine whether or not we would be able to assist you.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 3/6/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Hello, They have to prove it so I would suggest that you say nothing that can be used against you and get a lawyer. It is not the type of question I can give you a quick answer too.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/6/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    First, do not post things like this on public sites. You just admitted to a crime. As far as damage control is concerned, there is not much you can do to avoid her lawsuit short of agreeing to pay her back. She can contest that the charges are hers by contacting the credit cards, but they will likely want to see a police report. That is how the police usually become involved in something like this. If the police do become involved, you probably do not want to talk to them. If you are confident that your ex-wife will go to the police, you will want to be careful what you say to her as well. Identity fraud cases of this sort are often hard to prove without the defendant's admission.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/6/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    Hire a lawyer immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    If you were not authorized to use her card and you can't make an arrangement to pay the money back, then you're likely to be charged criminally. In that regard, you're also likely to pay more than that amountto defend yourself in criminal court and may still wind up with a criminal conviction, so it would be best to find a way to pay the money back before you are charged. Even if it means giving other stuff up to her in a divorce settlement ( I presume there is a divorce going on) it would be worth it in my opinion. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Jeremy Geigle
    In Arizona, taking the ID of another or ID theft is a class 4 felony. If the victim of ID theft is a family member or spouse there are many legal issues which may come into play including spousal privilege, consent, and community property laws to name a few. Some of these legal issues may lead to defenses to the crime. There are several strategies which may be employed to avoid criminal charges. Taking to an experienced Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney is a great place to start.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    The Woods Law Firm
    The Woods Law Firm | F.W. Woods Jr.
    Stay silent and get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Without knowing the complete facts, I can only give you some suggestions. First, in order to prove identity theft or credit card fraud, the state would have to prove intent to defraud. If she knew what you were doing and didn't object, that may help. Obviously, whatever you did to anger her should be addressed and perhaps this will blow over. I'm not sure I understand what you mean about your wife suing you. The only entity who can file criminal charges in Washington, within one small exception, is the county prosecutor or his or her deputies. Private citizens can't press or drop charges. If it's just a lawsuit, think about bankruptcy. If she can spend the money and take the time to file a complaint against discharging the debt let her prove her case. Also, if she was married to you at the time of this incident, she is legally liable for half of the debt. So in a sense, she is suing herself. Most important: Do not discuss this with the police, your wife, your best friend or any living soul. Anything you say can be used against you to make you guilty. Furthermore, this whole situation is a red flag. If you use or abuse drugs or alcohol, this is your wake-up call. Get yourself evaluated by a state-certified alcohol-drug counselor and do whatever he or she tells you to do. Having been a prosecutor for eight out of twenty years in practice, I rarely see a situation that undermines a marriage and brings one into contact with the criminal justice system that doesn't involve drugs or alcohol. If you are one of the twenty percent of folks in your shoes who doesn't have a problem; congratulations, you just have poor judgment or uncontrolled impulses; get yourself some counseling. However, if you fall into the other eighty percent; get busy getting clean and sober. If you have any further questions, comments or concerns, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq.
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq. | Tomas M. Flores
    Contrary to popular belief, it is not really the victim's decision to prosecute a crime, but the prosecuting agency's decision. In order to best mitigate your criminal exposure, please contact a criminal attorney ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Quickly settle with her before she files criminal charges. If serious about hiring counsel to help you, feel free to contact me. It will be cheaper than the attorney fees for a criminal defense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Settle in civil court and don't piss anyone off.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC | Steve Raiser
    You would have to avoid making any statements indicating your guilt and speak to your civil attorney about settling the case quickly so that you are not reported to the authorities.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Work out an agreement with her or the company to make the payments. Otherwise, get a defense attorney on the case.

    The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only. The attorney is licensed in the State of Alabama. No answers or information on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Based upon the facts provided, it appears that you have not at this time been charged. I would recommend that you consult with a criminal defense attorney in your community concerning all the facts, and your rights and options, in the event you are charged. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    You should hire a lawyer to defend against the criminal charges as the use of your wife's identity is a crime. To avoid criminal charges, you might have to do full restitution and hope your wife does not press charges. The credit card company also might pursue charges as well.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    Stop talking about it to anyone and hire a lawyer now.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Kiss her butt and try to calm her down. That was a very stupid thing you did. Are you still married? If so talk about preserving the family. If divorced you could try to beg and borrow the money from friends and family and pay it to her to pay off the bills. Also pay any interest.Maybe she'll even let you make monthly payments along with the interest. Otherwise it is pretty damn certain she will have you busted and you have no one to blame but your stupid self. Didn't you think running up a $10,000 debt on her card might just piss her off?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    Settle the civil case as quickly as possible and try to put it behind you. The police do not usually get involved in white collar crime unless the person brings it to them. Settle and get out of it. We offer free consultations at Arnold & Wadsworth. Feel free to give us a call.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    You need to get a lawyer. Immediately. If you are charged with crimes, these are very serious charges - felonies - and can carry up to 5 years in prison. The best thing to do is to get a lawyer. A lawyer can help you by talking to law enforcement and trying to persuade them not to file charges. A lawyer can protect your rights and find evidence in your favor. If necessary, a lawyer can defend you at trial.

    I am a former prosecutor and I know how the state pursues these charges and what path the police and other law enforcement take. I would be happy to arrange a free consult with you to discuss your options. But whether it's with me or someone else, you need to talk to a good lawyer as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    If you can pay back the money, the interested persons may not press charges. This has worked before with some of my clients. Call me to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    In Oregon, where I practice, ID Theft, credit card fraud and forgery-type charges all require that the state prove you had the intent to defraud or deceive. Arguably you were being deceptive when you used your wife's personal identification (although if she was okay with it providing you paid back the loan, it's probably not even that), I think the key issue is did you intend to pay the loan off or not. In other words, you may have lacked some criminal intent although if your wife wasn't aware of what you were doing, you may have a problem. Best thing to do is pay off the loan asap, it wouldn't necessarily absolve you of criminal liability but it looks better to a district attorney who is thinking of charging you with some crimes.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    There is nothing you can do to avoid the inevitable charges:

    (1) You stole your wife's financial ID
    (2) You lied to your wife about it
    (3) You charged $ 10,000 worth of goods and services, you could not afford to pay
    (4) She is now responsible for paying it, since you cannot
    (5) Her credit is ruined
    (6) I suspect your credit was already ruined, which is why you stole her credit

    I suspect she is furious, and will make sure you pay for that crime, which will simultaneously take her off the hook for the $ 10,000 debt you ran up.You win the prize for the guy most responsible for ruining his own life. I wish you the best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan | Jason Chan
    Pay her back the money.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/3/2011
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