Identity Theft has more and more become a ubiquitous element in modern life. With that in mind, criminal charges related to Identity Theft or Forgery and related crimes are being handled very seriously by local prosecutors and District Attorneys’ Office throughout New York City, Westchester, Rockland and New York State. The complexity and nature of the evidence against a person in a typical Identity Theft or other financial criminal charge necessitates an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney that understands how these cases are looked at by prosecutors, the strengths and weaknesses of typical examples of theses kinds of cases, and how to effectively protect and defend a person’s rights who finds themselves charged with Identity Theft and related charges.
Identity Theft charges are more broad than many realize. It can include not only accusations of stealing someone’s social security number or other similar identifying information, but also commonly credit card information or even a person’s maiden name or other commonly used account security information. Because of the complexity and breadth of these kinds of charges, many DA’s offices have specialized units with immense resources to prosecute these cases. The severity of Identity Theft charges can range from high-level felonies punishable by years in state prison, to misdemeanors punishable by time in local jail and/or probation, community service and other non-incarceratory sentences. These statutes include Identity Theft in the Third Degree under Penal Law 190.78, Identity Theft in the Second Degree under Penal Law 190.79, Identity Theft in the First Degree under Penal Law 190.80, and Aggravated Identity Theft under Penal Law 190.80-a.
Generally speaking, in order for a person to be charged or convicted of an Identity Theft crime, it must be alleged or proven that they not only obtained some kind of personal identifying information of another person, but that he or she did so for personal gain or to cause financial harm to another person. This broad definition can cover the most simple and isolated event such as making a fraudulent purchase at a department store to large and complex identity theft rings or schemes involving many people and millions of dollars. It can also be charged in conjunction with other felony offenses, which effectively increases the prison exposure an accused person faces. These related charges often include Forgery, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Grand Larceny, Scheme to Defraud, and others.
Contact The Law Office of Samuel S. Coe today to consult with an experienced Identity Theft defense attorney and former Manhattan prosecutor.