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Experienced Identity Theft Lawyer - New York Criminal Defense Attorney at Lebedin Kofman LLP

What is Identity Theft?

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.”

If you are facing identity theft charges, contact Lebedin Kofman LLP and speak with one of our identity theft lawyers in New York. You can reach us online or at (646) 663-4430.

Types of Identity or Information Theft

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 an 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 identifying 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 data from technological sources and use it for personal gain.

With enough identifying information, a criminal may be able to conduct a wide range of crimes, such as:

  • Applying for loans and credit cards;
  • Withdrawing money from bank accounts;
  • Using credit cards or obtaining other goods for which the criminal would be denied if he or she were to use his or her real name.

Call Lebedin Kofman LLP today at (646) 663-4430 or contact us online to speak with one of our identity theft attorneys in New York.

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Different Degrees of NYC Identity Theft

Third-Degree Identity Theft

In New York, Penal Law Section 190.78 states that a person commits third-degree identity theft when they knowingly and intentionally defraud another person, present themselves as someone else, act like that other person, or use identifying information of another person. An individual may also be charged with third-degree identity or information theft if they obtain goods, money, goods, and other services using someone else’s name and cause someone else financial loss. 

A person who is convicted of Identity Theft in the third degree may be punished with jail time of up to 1 year. If not, they may be alternatively sentenced with probation for up to 2 or 3 years. Even if the defendant does not have a criminal record, alternative resolutions like an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal or a plea to a non-criminal offense are not commonly offered as in other misdemeanor cases to those convicted of identity theft. A skilled attorney may be able to help the defendant explore alternative sentencing options.

Second-Degree Identity Theft

According to the Penal Law Section 190.79, a person is charged with second-degree identity theft if they also defraud another person, present themselves as that other person and obtain goods or services using that other person’s information. A person may also be charged with second-degree identity theft if they use credit in someone else’s name in excess of $500, and cause someone financial loss in excess of $500.

Additionally, the defendant may also be charged with second-degree identity theft or information theft if they commit the crime of identity theft in the Third Degree, but has a conviction within the preceding 5 years for any degree of identity theft; Grand Larceny; Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification; or Unlawful Possession of a Skimmer Device. 

Second-degree identity theft crimes may be sentenced to 1 to 4 years in prison for a first-time offender, but there may be alternative punishments available. This is where an attorney may be able to give important legal advice and help the defendant seek other possible sentencing options.

First-Degree Identity Theft

Lastly, a person may be charged with first-degree identity theft, according to the Penal Law Section 190.80, if they assume the identity of another person and cause someone else financial loss of $2000. If they also use credit in the name of another person in excess of $2000, obtain money and goods valued at more than $2000, they may be charged with first-degree identity theft. 

Furthermore, if someone commits the crime of identity theft in the Second Degree, but has a conviction within the preceding 5 years for any degree of identity theft, Grand Larceny, Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification; or Unlawful Possession of a Skimmer Device. A conviction of first-degree identity theft may be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison, but there may also be alternative sentences such as probation, a split sentence of up to 6 months in jail, or a straight conditional discharge. 

Being charged with identity or information theft can be serious. This is why it is important to seek the help of an experienced New York City attorney who may be able to give the defendant legal advice and help them understand their rights as well as protect their freedom.

Getting the Assistance of a Skilled Identity Theft Lawyer at Lebedin Kofman LLP

Identity Theft crimes may range from low-level misdemeanors to serious felonies. Usually, the severity of the charge will depend on the value of the information used or the goods obtained with the stolen information. Being convicted of Identity Theft may have a significant impact on the individual’s life and may also leave a mark on the person’s records. 

At Lebedin-Kofman, LLP, we understand the importance of having a skilled lawyer when facing charges of Identity Theft. Seeking the help of an experienced NYC identity theft attorney may be able to help the defendant protect their freedom or explore an alternative sentence that may be more favorable for the defendant. You don’t have to be alone in this.

If you or someone you love is facing charges of identity theft and need the help of skilled criminal defense lawyers, call Lebedin Kofman LLP today at (646) 663-4430.

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