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Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 27th October 2023, 06:55 pm
Identity theft can be a scary thing. As an attorney, you may have clients come to you looking for help after they’ve become victim to this crime. There are a few key federal laws and legal defenses you should know about to best assist your clients.
One of the most important federal laws on identity theft is the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (ITADA). This law, passed in 1998, made identity theft a federal crime for the first time. Before this, identity theft was only prosecuted under state laws.
ITADA makes it a crime to:
Violations are punishable by fines and up to 15 years in prison. The law also directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to record consumer complaints about identity theft and provide those records to law enforcement agencies. Read more on the FTC’s role here.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides important protections for identity theft victims. Under FCRA, consumers have the right to:
As a lawyer, you can help clients exercise these rights by requesting credit reports, identifying errors/fraud, and sending dispute letters. The FCRA is crucial for clearing up the financial mess left by identity thieves.
In 2003, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) amended FCRA to further aid identity theft victims. FACTA entitles consumers to:
As a lawyer, informing clients of these free annual credit reports and fraud alerts can be a big help. FACTA also created the national Do Not Call registry and requires companies to truncate credit card numbers on receipts to better protect consumers.
The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act increased the penalties for aggravated identity theft. Under this law, anyone who knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses another person’s means of identification during the commission of a serious federal crime faces mandatory 2-year prison sentences. This consecutive sentence would be in addition to any punishment for the underlying crime.
The Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008 authorized the FTC to hire more staff to assist identity theft victims. It also directed the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review its guidelines on identity theft offenses. This has led to stiffer criminal sentences for identity thieves.
As a lawyer, there are a few defenses and legal strategies you can use on behalf of clients accused of identity theft:
Meeting with prosecutors to share evidence and negotiate is key. As a lawyer, compiling evidence like receipts, alibis, bank records, and character references can also help build a strong defense.
As a lawyer assisting a victim of identity theft, here are some steps you can guide them through:
You can also refer identity theft victims to resources like IdentityTheft.gov. The most important thing is acting quickly to minimize damage. With your help disputing fraudulent activity, your clients can regain their security.
Identity theft can create major headaches, but federal laws provide important protections. As an attorney familiar with these laws, you have the power to effectively defend clients and assist victims. With a compassionate, knowledgeable approach, you can make the legal process a little less painful for those affected by this crime.
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