Criminal Law

1957. Obtaining Money, etc., by Representing Self as Holder of Access Card

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with obtaining something of value by fraudulently representing (himself/herself) as the holder of an access card.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant obtained (money[,]/ [or] goods[,]/ [or] services[,]/ [or] something [else] of value) by representing that (he/she) was the holder of an access card;

2. The access card had not, in fact, been issued;

3. The defendant obtained (money[,]/ [or] goods[,]/ [or] services[,]/ [or] something [else] of value) without the consent of the cardholder;


4. When the defendant obtained (money[,]/ [or] goods[,]/ [or] services[,]/ [or] something [else] of value), (he/she) intended to defraud.

An access card is a card, plate, code, account number, or other means of account access that can be used, alone or with another access card, to obtain (money[,]/ [or] goods[,]/ [or] services[,]/ [or] anything of value), or that can be used to begin a transfer of funds[, other than a transfer originated solely by a paper document].

[(A/An) <insert description, e.g., ATM card, credit card> is an access card.]

A cardholder is someone who has been issued an access card [or who has agreed with a card issuer to pay debts arising from the issuance of an access card to someone else].

A card issuer is a company [or person] [or the agent of a company or person] that issues an access card to a cardholder.

Someone intends to defraud if he or she intends to deceive another person either to cause a loss of (money[,]/ [or] goods[,]/

[or] services[,]/ [or] something [else] of value), or to cause damage to, a legal, financial, or property right.

[For the purpose of this instruction, a person includes (a governmental agency/a corporation/a business/an association/the body politic).]

[It is not necessary that anyone actually be defrauded or actually suffer a financial, legal, or property loss as a result of the defendant's acts.]

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime.

In the definition of "access card," the court may give the bracketed portion that begins with "other than a transfer" at its discretion. This statement is included in the statutory definition of access card. (Pen. Code, § 484d, subd. 2.) However, the committee believes it would rarely be relevant.

The court may also give the bracketed sentence stating "(a/an) is an access card" if the parties agree on that point.

Give the bracketed sentence that begins with "For the purpose of this instruction" if the evidence shows an intent to defraud an entity or association rather than a natural person. (Pen. Code, § 8.)

Give the bracketed sentence that begins with "It is not necessary" if the evidence shows that the defendant did not succeed in defrauding anyone. (People v. Morgan (1956) 140 Cal.App.2d 796, 801 [296 P.2d 75].)


Elements. Pen. Code, § 484g(b).

Definitions. Pen. Code, § 484d.

Intent to Defraud. People v. Pugh (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 66, 72 [127 Cal.Rptr.2d 770]; People v. Gaul-Alexander (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 735, 745 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d 176].

Intent to Defraud Entity. Pen. Code, § 8.

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Property, § 193.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143, Crimes Against Property, § 143.01[2][c] (Matthew Bender).


The committee has written this instruction based on the language of the statute, Penal Code section 484g(b). However, the committee notes that the requirements of the statute appear to be internally inconsistent.

Lesser Included Offenses

Attempted Use of Access Card. Pen. Code, §§ 664, 484g.

Related Issues

See the Related Issues sections in CALCRIM No. 1900, Forgery by False Signature, and CALCRIM No. 1950, Sale or Transfer of Access Card or Account Number.

(New January 2006)