Identity theft is on the rise and, unfortunately, many underestimate how serious the consequences can be if they get tangled up in wrongfully obtaining another’s private information. It is a crime that is typically committed for economic gain that can result in penalties such as fines, criminal forfeiture and significant stretches of imprisonment.
Information can be unlawfully obtained through observation by ease dropping or viewing sensitive information of individuals in public places or, these days, the internet can be used to score details to seize someone’s identity from the comfort of home. If you are strapped for cash, you need only look to the flood of preapproved credit cards and other sensitive mail in every consumer’s mailbox to steal their identity and their credit.
In 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act . This legislation created a new offense of identity theft, which prohibits knowingly transferring or using someone else’s identity to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law. If you are found guilty of identity theft, you may be looking at up to 15 years of imprisonment in addition to fines and forfeiture of personal property.
It doesn’t stop there, however. Schemes to commit identity theft may also involve violations of other statutes, leading to further legal consequences. Depending on how you go about tapping someone else’s information, you may also face felony charges for identification fraud, credit card fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud or financial institution fraud. The penalties are severe for all of these additional offenses and may result in incarceration of up to 30 years.
While many engaged in identity theft t believe there offense is minor, if you are caught, it can be quite serious. If you or a family member has been charged with identity theft or related offenses, the legal team of Andrew C. Ladd LLC has 50 years of combined legal experience and we can help you find the right strategy for defending against charges of theft. Contact us today.