Identity Theft Crimes
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A
Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal identifying information in order to obtain money or credit. Under 18 USC 1028A, Aggravated Identity Theft mandates that if convicted a defendant must be sentenced to an additional two years in prison over and above any time served for other offenses. This offense carries a maximum term of 15 years imprisonment, a fine, and criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit identity theft. Additionally, the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act was enacted in 1998. This act prohibits, “knowingly transferring or using without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under applicable State or local law.”
Identity theft may include criminal, medical, and financial identity theft. Identity theft involving criminal activity occurs when a criminal misrepresents himself or herself as another person during arrest. A criminal may do this to avoid a summons, prevent the discovery of a warrant issued, or avoid arrest or conviction. Medical identity theft occurs when someone identifies himself or herself as another to obtain free medical care. Financial identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s identity or information to obtain credit, goods, services, or benefits.
Identity theft can include the theft of names, social security numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, or any other identifying characteristic. Identity thieves may obtain personal identity information in several ways. Some of the identity theft crimes stem from criminals searching for discarded electronics, public record searches, stolen credit cards, credit card skimming, shoulder surfing, or computer hacking using computer viruses. Criminals may retrieve discarded pre-approved credit cards in the mail and try to activate them without the victim’s knowledge.
Recently, identity theft facilitated by the internet has increased. Identity thieves commonly use computer technology to obtain the personal information of victims. Many victims hastily respond to spam or unsolicited emails that promise benefits but request identifying data. Criminals may obtain a large amount of personal date from technological sources and use it for personal gain. With enough identifying information, a criminal may be able to take over a victim’s identity to conduct a wide range of crimes including:
- Applying for loans and credit cards;
- Withdrawing money from bank accounts;
- Using calling card or obtaining other goods for which the criminal would be denied if he or she were to use his or her real name.
For more information on Identity Theft Crimes, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (212) 500-3273 today.
Russ Kofman is a founding partner in Lebedin Kofman LLP. He has extensive litigation experience defending clients accused of felonies, misdemeanors and DWI/ DUI crimes.