With the easy accessibility of personal information through computers and smart phones, identity theft has rocketed into one of the nation’s fastest growing—and most highly publicized — crimes. As a result, the FBI and other investigative agencies are working together to crack down on identity theft.
If you use someone else’s identity fraudulently, you can face harsh repercussions that include federal prison and fines. If you are indicted, you will need to retain a defense attorney who is experienced in identity theft as soon as you can.
Federal Identity Theft
In 1998, Congress passed legislation that makes it against US law to knowingly use another person’s identifying information, such as social security numbers, without their consent to aid or abet any activity that violates federal law or is a felony under federal or state law.
The act made the Federal Trade Commission the central agency responsible for collecting reports on identity theft.
The kinds of offenses that fall under identity fraud include:
- Applying for a credit card, mortgage or loan using someone else’s identifying information.
- Filing a fake tax return using another person’s identifying information, and then collecting the refund.
The 2004 Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act expanded federal punishment for identity theft. Under this act, you can be convicted of aggravated identity theft as well as identity theft, and draw two additional years in a federal prison for felonies that include:
- Identity theft involving Medicare or Social Security
- Identity theft by a bank employee
- Identity theft from an employee benefit plan
- Identity theft leading to theft of public property
You can face five more years in prison if your identity theft was part of a terrorism crime.
The Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008, makes it possible for the federal government to prosecute you even if you live in the same state as the person whose identity you allegedly stole. The act expands the restitution that must be paid by those convicted so it includes the value of the time a victim has to spend remedying the harm caused by the identity theft.
How A Pennsylvania Identity Theft Lawyer Will Help
When you are up against a fraud charge, you will be facing inflexible laws and a determined US prosecutor. You will need a Pennsylvania identity theft lawyer who can help you determine all of your options and achieve the best outcome for your circumstances.
United States Code
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If you are charged with a federal crime, the consequences can be devastating. Fienman Defense will fight tenaciously to protect your constitutional rights. We will guide you through a court system that can be complex and intimidating, and provide you with the strongest possible defense.