Coral Gables & Miami Federal Identity Theft Attorneys
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), an estimated 16.6 million individuals in the United States reported being the victim of some form of identity theft in a single year. Because of the rise of identity theft cases in recent years, federal agencies and authorities are attempting to crack down on suspects and aggressively prosecute them under federal laws. Like any other type of criminal offense, however, identity theft cases can often involve wrongful charges, weak evidence, violations of constitutional rights and more. Anyone facing allegations of identity theft should immediately contact an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer who understands the nature of identity theft charges.
What constitutes identity theft?
Under the federal Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, it is against the law to possess, use, or transfer any “means of identification” of another individual in connection with illegal activity of intended illegal activity. “Means of identification” can refer to any of the following:
- Date of birth;
- Social Security number;
- Identification documents or ID number, including driver’s license or passport;
- Alien registration number; or
- Taxpayer or employer identification number.
The above types of information can be used for many different unlawful reasons, including but not limited to:
- Accessing another individual’s accounts without authority;
- Applying for or using credit accounts in another person’s name;
- Filing taxes under another person’s identity;
- Filing for bankruptcy in another person’s name;
- Giving a false identity to law enforcement officers; or
- Providing false identification documents to undocumented immigrants.
In many situations, an individual’s information may be stolen completely online and a victim may not realize that their information has been misappropriated for some time. This can lead to difficulty in identifying the correct identity thieves and can lead to wrongful prosecution.
Penalties under federal identity theft laws
The penalties for identity theft under federal law can be harsh. For example, depending on the exact identity theft circumstances alleged, convicted offenders may face up to either five or 15 years in federal prison. This prison sentence can be increased to 20 years if the identity theft was believed to be connected to drug trafficking or a violent crime or up to 30 years if connected to domestic terrorism. Penalties can also be increased if the offender has a prior identity theft conviction.
Furthermore, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act allows greater penalties for aggravated identity theft, which occurs when the theft is part of another serious criminal offense. This law states that offenders will face two years in prison in addition to the sentence for the underlying felony offense.
How an experienced federal identity theft defense attorney can help you
The penalties for federal identity theft can be serious and any individual who has been arrested or charged should contact a highly skilled federal criminal defense lawyer immediately. At the Miami and Coral Gables law firm of Alfredo A. Izaguirre, we know how to successfully handle federal identity theft cases and will always fight for the best outcome possible in your case. Please call us today at 305-442-0425 for help.