As a federal crime, alleged identity theft offenders can be looking at extensive jail or prison as well as massive fines if convicted. Therefore, it is crucial to speak with a federal identity theft attorney as soon as you learn that you’re being investigated for, or charged with, identity theft. At Grabel & Associates, we’ve successfully defended individuals charged with identity theft, and we’ll provide a full service, aggressive federal criminal defense for you. For a free consultation with our federal defense attorneys, contact us online today.
From check forgers to fugitives on the run, identity theft is nothing new. Nonetheless, with the rise of the web and the sheer amount of personal information stored there, identity theft has grown substantially with new, sophisticated schemes. Every year, nearly 15 million Americans have their identities stolen, amounting to financial losses of about $50 billion annually. To curtail identity theft, the FBI and other federal agencies make investigating and catching offenders a priority, using widespread information-sharing partnerships with local and state law enforcement as well as individuals from the business, government, and education sectors.
Learn more about identity theft below.
In essence, identity theft occurs when another person steals an identity in order to commit fraud or another crime. The U.S. Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act and amended Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1028, both of which served to make it a federal crime to “knowingly transfer or use, 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 any applicable state or local law.”
The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act in 2004 further strengthened federal laws and established penalties for “aggravated identity theft,” which refers to stealing another’s identity in order to commit felony crimes. Furthermore, other crimes that an alleged offender may be facing can include:
If convicted of a federal identity theft crime, such as aggravated identity theft, the penalties can be quite extensive and may result in years in a federal prison. For example, according to the law, identity theft can result in imprisonment of not more than 15 years. However, if the identity theft was used in accordance with drug trafficking or a violent crime, the maximum punishment can be 20 years.
Of course, the specific circumstances surrounding the theft will determine the extent of the penalties. Due to the Aggravated Identity Theft law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A), if you’re charged with any of the above federal crimes, the federal government can tack on an aggravated identity theft charge, which holds the potential of an additional two years to your sentence.
Identity theft charges usually follow a long and comprehensive investigation, and it is not uncommon for defendants to know they’re under investigation before the arrest. During this part of the case, it is essential to contact your criminal defense lawyer, as in the pre-file period, your attorney can make a dramatic impact on the case. Even before the law enforcement files the charges, your lawyer can serve as your spokesperson and under the right circumstances, your lawyer can help resolve the investigation before police even file charges.
To prove that a defendant is guilty of identity theft, the federal prosecutors have the burden of proving several elements, including:
Don’t let the courts take away your freedom by vigorously and diligently fighting your charges with the expert legal aid of a federal criminal defense attorney from Grabel & Associates. Through comprehensive, one-on-one communication with you, we’ll devise a strong defense strategy attacking every aspect and piece of evidence from the prosecution while approaching the case with as much evidence as we can find. For a free consultation with your criminal defense attorney, contact us online now.