Identity theft in Los Angeles has increased tremendously and the government has taken a very serious stance on the issue. The incidences of ID theft increased by 11% from 2008 to 2009 altering the lives of 11 million Americans and the numbers continue to go increase. The government is well aware of the identity theft epidemic and is taking the problem very seriously.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, PIN numbers, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act
In October 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (Identity Theft Act) to address the problem of identity theft. Specifically, the Act amended 18 U.S.C. § 1028 to make it a federal crime when anyone:
- Knowingly transfers or uses, 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.
In most instances, a conviction for identity theft carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, a fine and forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit a crime.
Prosecutors can make Identity theft charges more severe, especially if the identity theft takes place along with another felony. If the other felony carries a heavier sentence than does the ID theftcharge, the more severe of the two charges can be used against the suspect.
Schemes to commit Identity theft or fraud may also involve violations of other statues such as credit card fraud, computer fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, or social security fraud. Each of these federal offenses is a felony and carries substantial penalties, in some cases as high as 30 years in prison, fines, and criminal forfeiture.
If you or a loved one has been charged with identity theft, call the Hedding Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We are here to help.