Aggravated Identity Theft
At Scrofano Law PC, we are committed to protecting your identity and your rights from aggravated identity theft. We will work tirelessly to get you the justice you deserve.
What Is Aggravated Identity Theft?
It is generally understood that identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal identifying information and uses it to conduct transactions in your name without your permission or legal authority. This can be done to steal your money, open accounts, or make claims against your insurance. This act benefits the perpetrator at your expense and is a crime.
If, however, the person’s identity was stolen to commit a felony violation, the act is classified as aggravated identity theft or aggravated identity fraud. This crime not only involves stealing the identity or personal data of another but also committing a separate crime.
Victims of this crime can be deprived of their money, possessions, and reputation. They could be charged with the crimes perpetrated by the offender. Even those who experience no financial loss can feel victimized.
If you are charged with federal mail fraud or aggravated identity theft charges, you may feel more secure with a lawyer from a reputable law firm like Scrofano Law PC defending you.
Elements of Aggravated Identity Theft
Identity theft begins with acquiring someone’s personal data via a data breach, phishing scam, stolen ID or credit card, or a computer virus. The thieves then use the victim’s personal information to impersonate them or commit fraud under the victim’s name.
The prosecution is entrusted with the responsibility to show that the accused is guilty of committing identity theft by proving the following:
- The defendant deliberately uses or knowingly transfers someone else’s identity or personal data.
- The defendant has no lawful authority to use their identity or data.
- The defendant intended to use another person’s identity to commit or assist with unlawful activity.
Although that may sound straightforward, a skilled prosecutor can exaggerate details to make the accused seem guilty of their charges. Therefore, it may be wise to seek experienced counsel as soon as possible in the case, so they can begin developing a solid legal defense.
Common Methods of Committing Identity Theft
- Several methods can be used by a person to steal your identity. Some of these can occur without the victim even leaving their home. Some of the most common ways by which this type of fraud can happen are over your personal computer or another electronic device.
- Sometimes, the victim receives a notification offering a benefit like a prize or assistance with a fake problem. They are then requested to provide identifying data for supposed verification purposes. They can have large quantities of personal data stolen before they realize what happened.
- Another common way that criminals could attempt to benefit at your expense is by activating someone’s discarded “pre-approved” credit cards or redirecting their mail to another location. They can accumulate significant debt in the victim’s name before their deed is discovered.
- Criminals can also gain access to your credit by overhearing you give your credit card information over the phone or watching you enter it on a card reader or ATM.
- With enough of your identifying information, a criminal could assume your identity and withdraw funds from your bank accounts, apply for loans or credit cards, and obtain other benefits to which they are not otherwise entitled.
You have much to consider if you are charged with aggravated identity theft. In addition to identity theft, there is another felony violation to contend with. For security and peace of mind, many people find retaining the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney helpful.
Aggravated Identity Theft Statute
Identity theft statute 18 U.S.C. § 1028 criminalizes ordinary identity theft, prohibiting someone from using your identifying information for fraud. Aggravated identity theft statute 18 U.S. Code § 1028A further criminalizes it in relation to certain specified federal crimes.
Aggravated identity theft charges include, but are not restricted to, the following felonies:
Bank, mail, and wire fraud
Falsifying statements for acquiring a firearm
Fraud and false statements relating to Social Security programs
Fraud and false statements relating to immigration, such as visas, passports, and citizenship papers
Theft from an employee benefit plan
Theft of property, private or public money, or rewards
Theft or embezzlement by a bank employee or officer
A person convicted of aggravated identity theft will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison that they can only serve after the sentence for the underlying crime. The judge is not allowed to let the sentences be served concurrently.
A fake ID lawyer may be able to raise a reasonable doubt about whether the defendant knowingly transferred or used the identity of another. Depending on the circumstances of the case, they may have a variety of defenses available.
Getting Help With Your Aggravated Identity Theft Case
You may have to go to court if you are charged with aggravated identity theft. Consider consulting experienced white-collar lawyers who can assess your case and offer solutions.
A skilled attorney from Scrofano Law PC has ample resources and information they can use to develop a solid criminal defense. They can discuss the offenses and possible punishment so you understand the parameters of the case. Preparing for court can be stressful. Your attorney can guide you through the entire process and represent you before the judge.
For additional questions about a criminal defense matter like aggravated identity theft, talk to an attorney at Scrofano Law PC.
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