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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    5

    Default Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: North Carolina

    I need help and I don't know what to do. I worked for this credit card company for 10 years so you would think I would've known better. Here is the situation. I was laid off in Feb 2010 and unemployed for a period of time. I grew up in Charlotte, NC and my 88 year old grandmother lives there and told me to come back and get a job in Charlotte since it is a bigger city. When I came down, she offered me her credit card to use as long as I paid the bill. The card had a zero balance so I knew whatever balance ended up on it, would be mine. I lived with my grandmother the whole time I used it and paid it religously every month (and still do). I admittedly let the balance get up high ($10,000) and I knew I shouldn't have. I moved out of my grandmothers home in Jan. and shortly after I started receiving awful phone calls from her and my sister. They are saying they are sending me to jail and making demands that are not reasonable. Every day it is something new and some harrassing message or phone call. I can't keep going through this. I just want it over. I have no problem paying my debt but they are demanding money out of me that I don't have and threatening me with jail every day. I am a single mom of a teenage boy and I don't need my son seeing me taken to jail. I also work and go to school and don't want my whole life ruined over this by having charges on me.

    Help... What can I do or what should I do?

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    Some of the details are a little unclear to me, but I can say that if you gave the credit card back to your grandmother, it can't be grand larceny, as you no longer possess the credit card. They could say you committed identity theft, but given that your grandmother knew about you using the card (right?), you haven't actually committed that crime either. Finally, it's very unlikely that you would be sent to prison for failure to pay debt. You should consult an actual attorney, but I think your sister and grandmother are blowing smoke more then actual fire.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    Thank you for your reply. How could it be identity theft? That is a little unclear. I did not apply for the card. This was a card she had for some time and it had a zero balance. I have made payments (more than the minimum) every month. I am not trying to get out of a debt or stick anyone with something that is mine. I have owned up to it. They just keep threatening saying that all they have to do is fax some paper work to the credit card company claiming fraud and I would be arrested for grand larceny. I worked for Amex for 10 years and I don't recal the fraud procedures being like that. Maybe its because I used the card but, I don't consider this fraud when she gave me the card and told me I could use it.

    Thank you for your reply. How could it be identity theft? That is a little unclear. I did not apply for the card. This was a card she had for some time and it had a zero balance. I have made payments (more than the minimum) every month. I am not trying to get out of a debt or stick anyone with something that is mine. I have owned up to it. They just keep threatening saying that all they have to do is fax some paper work to the credit card company claiming fraud and I would be arrested for grand larceny. I worked for Amex for 10 years and I don't recal the fraud procedures being like that. Maybe its because I used the card but, I don't consider this fraud when she gave me the card and told me I could use it.

    Also, if I do consult an attorney what kind of attorney do I consult? I have never been in any legal trouble before and I am not familiar with all of this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    The biggest issue seems to be whether she will lie or not. If you did not have anything in writing, showing you had permission to use the card, you may have a problem.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    695

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    Based on your post I don't think that there is enough cause to warrant a criminal charge for ID theft or larceny. If your grandmother knew and gave permission to use the card it was a loan at-best and that would be handled civily. You need to gather and keep any evidence that shows that your grandmother knew you were using the card. Pay stubs to indicate that you were paying the bill, etc are also important.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    Thank you for your response. I have kept everything. I have my bank statements and the credit card statements where the payments posted. I lived with her when I used the card so our address was the same. I just don't know what to do because it seems everyday it is something new. Amex won't speak to me and won't even give me general information. My grandmother called this evening and is claiming she has a lawyer working on this and they wanted me to apply for a credit card with Amex and have the balance transfered out of her name. When I worked for the company, they could not do internal balance transfers though. She also claims that Amex is putting a lien on her house. The account is not even past due so it shouldn't even me in collection status. Plus I did not think that credit card companies could put liens on homes. I asked her for the lawyers name and number so I could contact him and she refuses to give it to. This is just consumoing me at this point. I have never had legal trouble and pride myself on being a good and moral person.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    Unless she had the type of AMEX requiring a balance to be paid in full monthly, there is no reason for them to be after her, if payments are being made according to the contract.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    A standard American Express account is not a credit card, and the balance is to be paid off each month.

    If you have an arrangement with grandma to pay the bill each month, lied to her about what you were doing, concealed the bills from her in order to keep her from knowing that you were running up a balance, and surprised her with an accumulated $10,000 in unpaid charges and fees, I'm not as confident as others that the police won't be interested - most states have "larceny by trick" / "obtaining property by false pretenses" laws that, depending on the full story, might apply. It sounds like you intercepted the bills, so the reason grandma is so upset is that she didn't know what you were doing until you moved out and she discovered that you had been misleading her or actively lying to her about the account balance.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    This is a credit card with a revolving balance and not a charge card so there is a minimum due and finance charges associated with it. If I was intercepting the bil etc then yes I could understand her being upset. That is not the case. We lived in the same home and I work during the day so she got the mail and would hand me the bill when it came. When she gave me the card it had a zero balance and she knew whatever charges were on it were mine so she didn't feel the need I guess. Also, half of the balance that is on there is medical related from a kidney surgery I had in October and she was the one who told me I needed to put those expenses on the card. She did not inquire about it the only things she ever asked were 1) are you making the payments 2) do you still have the card. There was nothing hidden from her what so ever and I guess you would have to know my family background to truly understand. As I previously stated, I continue to make payments totaling at least $500 a month. Since my sister stepped in and is manipulating my grandmother, now they are demanding money (cash) from me each month in order for my grandmother to not press charges. I know this is wrong and I need to consult an attorney and just bring all my evidence to them but I don't know what kind of attorney to consult.

    I am not a criminal and don't have any previous charges. I have my undergrad and I am in grad school just trying to better myself. I just need advice on how to proceed. Please!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,533

    Default Re: Grand Larceny and Using Someone Elses Credit Card

    If what you are stating is true...that: 1 - You had grandma's full knowledge and permission to use the card, 2 - Grandma placed no limits or restrictions on your use of the card, 3 - Grandma specifically authorized the largest single charge (medical expenses), 4 - You have been making regular and reasonable payments on the outstanding debt, and 5 - The payments have never been below the minimum amount due and never past due, then I see nothing to warrant a criminal charge for theft. However, let me preface that...I am assuming that you have been making payments directly to the credit company and not to grandma and grandma does not dispute that she gave you permission. If you have been paying directly to the credit company, then you should have ample documentation of that (canceled checks, bank records of transfers, or whatever). So, both the credit company and the police can easily see that you have been making good faith payments on the debt. While apparently NC statutes do not specifically define "larceny," it is generally, legally accepted that there has to be a specific intent to deprive another person of something of value, which that other person is legally entitled, without that person's permission or other legal authority. You had grandma's permission and your continual payments are good circumstantial evidence against any intent on your part.

    However, the specific actions you took to utilize the card may be of concern, both criminally and civilly. From you posts, I get the impression that grandma never contacted the credit company to make you an authorized user on the account. That is, your name was not added to the account and you did not have a card with your name on it. That being the case, every time you used the card, legally speaking, you were assuming grandma's identity. Basically, every time you made a purchase, you were telling the seller that grandma was the buyer.

    How did you sign any charge slips? Did you sign with your name or with grandma's name? If you signed grandma's name, that's forgery.

    If grandma claims that she never gave you permission and didn't know you had her card, you might also have to defend against an accusation of possession of stolen property. If you didn't have any written agreement with grandma, have no witnesses to the agreement, or other evidence that there was an agreement, it could be hard to defend yourself against these accusations.

    I don't want to scare you with these possibilities. Because, I think it is iffy that a prosecutor would feel they had a strong enough case to file charges with these circumstances (regardless of what grandma and sis claim). However, the possibility is there. You should consult with an attorney and take action to defend yourself against these accusations.
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