What Are The Virginia Fraud Crimes Involving Telephone Records?
Within the arena of fraud crimes under the Virginia Criminal Code, there are particular offenses that relate to procuring, selling, or receiving telephone records. Often referred to as telephone record fraud crimes, these offenses usually involve the knowing procurement or sale of records without consent or authorization.
How Does Virginia Define Telephone Record Fraud Crimes?
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-152.17 prohibits any person from committing a telephone fraud crime. More specifically, this section prohibits any person from knowingly:
- Procuring, attempting to procure, or conspiring to procure any telephone record by fraudulent means;
- Selling or attempting to sell any telephone record without authorization from the owner or customer in question; or
- Receiving any telephone record with knowledge that the record was obtained by fraudulent means.
Procuring a telephone record means obtaining that record by any means, whether the transmission occurred orally, in writing, or electronically. Moreover, it does not matter if consideration or other things of value are exchanged in the process.
In terms of telephone records, Section 18.2-152.17 defines this term as any information retained by a telecommunications carrier relating to:
- Outgoing number dialed by a customer;
- Incoming number of a call directed to a customer;
- Start or end time of the call;
- Duration of the call;
- Date of the call; and
- Charges for the call.
It is important to note that “caller ID” or similar technologies do not constitute a telephone record under Section 18.2-152.17.
Are There Exceptions to Telephone Record Fraud Crimes?
There are two notable exceptions to telephone fraud crimes under Section 18.2-152.17 — the first involving law enforcement officers and the second involving telecommunication carriers.
Firstly, law enforcement officers are allowed to obtain telephone records in connection with the performance of their official duties.
Secondly, telecommunication carriers are allowed to obtain, use, disclose, or grant access to telephone records under specific circumstances. These circumstances include:
- Compliance with a subpoena or similar operation of law;
- Consent of the customer or subscriber in question;
- Rendition of services or safeguarding the carrier’s rights or property;
- Protection of the customer or subscriber from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful use;
- Disclosure to a government agency of an emergency involving imminent danger, physical injury, or death; and
- Report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
What is the Virginia Punishment for Telephone Fraud Crimes?
Any person who violates Section 18.2-152.17 by committing a telephone fraud crime is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction for this class of misdemeanor in Virginia can result in a maximum punishment of 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you are facing criminal charges, the Leesburg larceny, theft & fraud attorneys at Simms Showers LLP can help. Reach out to us today for a consultation.