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CRM 500-999

964. Credit Card Frauds

The application of the mail fraud statute to credit card frauds was limited by United States v. Maze, 414 U.S. 395 (1974) (forwarding by mail of credit card vouchers to credit card issuers for payment subsequent to the receipt of merchandise through the unauthorized use of a credit card did not constitute a use of the mails in furtherance of a fraudulent scheme so as to sustain prosecution under the mail fraud statute). Accordingly, mail fraud prosecutions in the credit card area are limited to instances involving (a) fraud in obtaining the credit card, or (b) a dishonest merchant who has knowledge that the use is unauthorized (in which case, the merchant has not been paid and the forwarding of the voucher for payment is an integral part of the scheme). Cf. United States v. Wallach, 935 F.2d 445, 465 (2d Cir. 1991) (subsequent mailing of credit card invoices "central to the scheme").

Prosecutions concerning the fraudulent use of a credit card may be instituted under other statutes, e.g., 15 U.S.C. § 1644, 18 U.S.C. §  1029, and in certain situations, 18 U.S.C. § 1344. See JM 9-49.000 et seq.

[cited in JM 9-43.100]