Identity Theft

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Identity Theft is one of the Fastest Growing crimes in the United States


Identity Theft involves any instance where a person uses someone else’s identification documents or other identifiers in order to impersonate that person for whatever reason.

Many local law enforcement agencies now have an Economic Crimes Unit which encompasses investigative units for Fraudulent Checks, Credit Card Fraud, Major Fraud, Computer Crimes and corroborate information through the Southern California Regional High-Tech Task Force.

The Economic Crimes Unit is responsible for investigating crimes associated with checks and credit card fraud, grand theft, theft of public funds, embezzlement, theft by false pretenses, consumer fraud, a variety of business fraud and identity theft, real estate fraud and elder financial abuse.

If you are facing Identity Theft Charges in Southern California, you need an experienced Identity Theft attorney on your side. The local District Attorneys in southern California aggressively prosecute identity theft and fraud cases. Identity theft can be charged as a MISDEMEANOR or a FELONY.

 

California Penal Code Section 530 – states - Every person who falsely personates another, in either his private or official capacity, and in such assumed character receives any money or property, knowing that it is intended to be delivered to the individual so personated, with intent to convert the same to his own use, or to that of another person, or to deprive the true owner thereof, is punishable in the same manner and to the same extent as for larceny of the money or property so received.

California Penal Code Section 530.5(a) - Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person, and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

In essence, the law makes it a crime to obtain someone else’s identifying information and using such identifying information for some unlawful purpose. The following code specifically sets forth certain things that are considered personal identifying information.

California Penal Code Section 530.55 - states - "personal identifying information" means any name, address, telephone number, health insurance number, taxpayer identification number, school identification number, state or federal driver's license, or identification number, social security number, place of employment, employee identification number, professional or occupational number, mother's maiden name, demand deposit account number, savings account number, checking account number, PIN (personal identification number) or password, alien registration number, government passport number, date of birth, unique biometric data including fingerprint, facial scan identifiers, voiceprint, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation, unique electronic data including information identification number assigned to the person, address or routing code, telecommunication identifying information or access device, information contained in a birth or death certificate, or credit card number of an individual person, or an equivalent form of identification.

Among other things, opening a credit card account in someone else’s name or making unauthorized charges on another person’s account whether done in person of through the use of internet, telephone or fax is considered identity theft. Obtaining a fraudulent loan under someone else’s name or credit, obtaining government documents such as a driver’s license or a social security card with another person’s identifying information is also identity theft.

The damage caused by stealing someone’s identifying information can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. One of the worst effects it has on victims is destroying their credit ratings and their ability to get loans to purchase an automobiles or a home.

If you are charged with committing identity theft crime in California you can be facing steep fines, probation or even be sentenced to jail or prison time.

In these types of cases, the District Attorney must prove that you "willfully" stole someone's personal information. Secondly they must prove that you did so without that person's consent or authorization and thirdly that you used the information obtained in this manner illegally to your advantage or for your personal gain.

With the right California identity theft defense attorney on your side, you might be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed if the prosecution will agree to a civil compromise type of deal where you will make sure the victims are compensated for their damages and possibly save this type of charge from going on your record as a conviction.

For certain professional licensing agencies and for Immigration purposes, a conviction for identity theft or any other theft or fraud related charge for that matter, may be considered a moral turpitude crime which can disqualify you from the job, license or immigration status you seek.

 

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