Because identity theft is such a high profile crime and many times can involve thousands of people at any one time, law enforcement officials are under significant pressure to prosecute those charged with identity theft crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
There are many forms of identity theft
While many people only think of a single type of crime when it comes to identity theft, the fact is that a person can be charged with many different types of crimes related to identity theft.
Basic identity theft takes place when a person knowingly uses another person’s personal identifying information without their consent or authority. Identity theft actually occurs when the person tries to obtain goods or services using that information. This can also extend to applying for credit and getting government issued documents.
Criminal impersonation involves using a false identity to gain some kind of benefit or to defraud another person. This could include signing a document such as a contract, using another person’s name with the intent that the contract could be taken as true.
Criminal possession of a financial device means that if you have in your possession a credit or debit card, or another person’s bank account number, knowing they are lost or stolen, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. If you hold multiple cards or records, you can be charged with a felony.
Gathering identity information by deception means that if you make false statements to obtain personal information, you can also be charged with a crime.
Identity theft crimes are felonies
For the most part, identity theft crimes are treated as extremely serious matters and as such, are charged as felonies under the law. Fines and restitution can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars and prison terms can extend well beyond 10 years in length. That is why it is imperative to hire the best possible identity theft defense attorney if you are charged with this type of crime.
The Law Office of Ginger Kelley serves clients in Newport Beach, Santa Ana and communities throughout Orange County, California.