Missouri expands crimes targeting credit card fraud

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JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation making it a misdemeanor crime to possess fraudulently obtained credit card information.

The legislation signed Monday by Nixon expands an existing law that makes it illegal to use someone else's identity to try to get credit or debit devices.

Nixon said current law does not allow charges against people who possess stolen credit information unless that information has been used.

The new law will add possession of fraudulently obtained credit and debit devices to a list of Class A misdemeanors, which are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail.

Cat Sandstedt had her debit card information stolen two years ago. "I will be interested to see how they uphold that," she said, adding that it would be difficult to track down people who violated the law by mere possession of another person's credit card.

Estella Lau whose credit card was stolen said she could have benefited from this law a year ago. "I wish they did this before. I think it could have made a difference for me when they found my card."

Her card was never used by the thief, but was found in one person's possession, along with a few other fraudulent cards. She said the thief could not have been punished for having, specifically her stolen card.

Nixon said the new law will provide police with another way to hold hackers and identity thieves accountable.

The law will take effect Aug. 28.

This law is one of seven the governor signed Monday. 

Another law is aimed to help victims of domestic violence. It lets them keep their cell phone numbers and services separate from the wireless accounts of their abusers. The law will allow cell service providers to transfer the victim's cell phone service to a new account where they can retain their same phone number and associated numbers and services.

The governor's office said Nixon also signed:

  • House Bill 1443 allowing LAGERS (Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System) member political subdivisions to move prior non-LAGERS retirement plans into the LAGERS retirement system.  HB 1443 addresses problems identified by the Governor in a previously vetoed version of the bill.
  • House Bill 1530, which brings Missouri into compliance with federal laws requiring the collection of certain unemployment debt through the Treasury Offset Program and requiring that 15 percent of any assessed penalty be paid into the Unemployment Compensation Fund, a benefit fund;
  • House Bill 1593 to exempt county collectors from the 10 penalty for untimely distribution of taxes collected if the taxes are subject to a taxpayer protest or disputed assessment; 
  • House Bill 1721 modifying the manner and frequency in which a supervisory committee of a credit union verifies its member accounts so it conforms to the manner and frequency proscribed in federal law; and
  • Senate Bill 660, which changes the amount that banking corporations or associations bidding to become the depositories of the funds of a county are required to submit to not less than $2,500.