This article is not about the famous Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier bout in 1975, but rather a tough play on ATM, credit card, and related fraud as the Filipino Senate codifies severe penalties for financial theft.
The Manila Times reports:
- The Senate has approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to classify the hacking of bank systems as economic sabotage, punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of up to P5 million.
My kind of laws!
- On top of stiffer penalties, the scope of RA 8484 has been expanded to include automated teller machine (ATM) fraud through skimming, hacking of the banking system, and counterfeiting of credit or debit card.
- Under the bill, the hacking of a bank’s system, skimming of 50 or more ATM cards or online banking accounts, credit cards and debit cards constitute economic sabotage, a non-bailable offense carrying penalties of life imprisonment.
For smaller thieves, there are similar punishments
- Imprisonment of 12 to 20 years and a fine not less than P500,000 will be meted against anyone in possession of 10 or more card skimming devices and can access at least one account.
- An offender found in possession of 10 or more counterfeit access devices or similar gadgets even though not proven to have accessed any account shall be subjected to six to 12-year jail term and a fine of P300,000.
And for the micro-criminals:
- The fraudulent use of a credit card, meanwhile, shall be punishable with imprisonment of four to six years and a fine of twice the value of the fraudulently obtained credit.
Those limits are stiffer than this woman received in her two years suspended sentence by the state of Iowa on two counts of unlawful use of a credit card. In the Philippines, that would be 4-6 years in the slammer. And for these unlucky Asian students at the University of New Hampshire who had the great idea of paying $56,407.50 on nine hot cards would have more than enough time to earn a Masters degree before release from jail.
Overview by Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group