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Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:22 pm
Aggravated identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when someone knowingly uses, possesses, or transfers the identification of another person without their permission, and then uses that identification during the commission of a felony offense. The government enacted laws related to aggravated identity theft to supplement and strengthen existing federal laws regarding identity theft, a crime that victimizes millions of Americans each year. In 2012 alone, sources estimate that between 12 and 16 million Americans were victimized by identity theft.
Unlike identity theft, which involves stealing someone’s identity without necessarily committing a crime, aggravated identity theft involves committing a crime with the stolen identity. Congress enacted the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act in 1998 to describe the offense of identity theft in statute 18 U.S.C. § 1028. In 2004, Congress enacted a second identity theft statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A, entitled “Aggravated Identity Theft.” This statute prohibits identity theft in connection with certain enumerated federal crimes or identity theft in connection with terrorism offenses.
Aggravated identity theft can cause a great deal of harm to the victim, including monetary and non-monetary harm. As a result, the government enacted strict penalties for this crime. The aggravated identity theft statute mandates a prison term to be served consecutively; the sentence for the felony crime committed, plus a mandatory additional 2 years. If the offense relates to terrorism in nature, the prison sentence is the punishment for the felony crime committed, plus an additional mandatory 5 years.
It is important to remember that the government must prove two elements in an aggravated identity theft case: that identity was stolen and that a crime was committed. However, if a person has an identifying document in their possession but does not use it, it may be argued that they have not used it, possessed it, or transferred it during and in relation to the crime. There is very little case law about this element, and sometimes a lawyer can get an acquittal if there is little or no evidence about “during and in relation to a crime.”
Sources estimate that between 12 and 16 million Americans were victimized by identity theft in 2012 alone. To combat this crime, the government enacted strict penalties for aggravated identity theft. If a person is convicted of federal aggravated identity theft, the judge must impose a two-year identity theft prison sentence, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed in the case.
Aggravated identity theft is committed during and in relation to certain offenses, which include the theft of public money, theft or embezzlement by a bank officer or bank employee, falsely impersonating a U.S. citizen, false statements made during the acquisition of a firearm, bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, fraud related to passports and visas, obtaining customer information by false pretenses, willfully failing to leave the United States after deportation and creating a counterfeit alien registration card, and false statements related to the social security act.
To prove that a defendant is guilty of federal aggravated identity theft, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly transferred, possessed, or used another person’s means of identification or identification documents without lawful authority and during and in relation to the eligible felony alleged in the indictment.
A means of identification is defined as any name or number used, alone or together with any other information, to identify a specific person, including a name, social security number, date of birth, officially issued driver’s license or identification number, alien registration number, passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number, or electronic identification number or routing code.
In conclusion, aggravated identity theft is a serious crime that victimizes millions of Americans each year. Unlike identity theft, which involves stealing someone’s identity without necessarily committing a crime, aggravated identity theft involves committing a crime with the stolen identity. The penalties for this crime are strict, and a conviction can result in a mandatory prison sentence. The government must prove that identity was stolen and that a crime was committed during and in relation to the stolen identity to secure a conviction.
At Spodek Law Group, we have experienced criminal defense attorneys who can help you if you have been accused of aggravated identity theft. We understand the complexities of this crime and can work with you to build a strong defense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
According to some sources, between 12 and 16 million Americans were victimized by identity theft in 2012 alone. The consequences of identity theft can be severe, including damage to credit scores, loss of employment opportunities, and difficulty obtaining loans or credit. Victims of identity theft may also experience emotional distress, such as anxiety, fear, and a sense of violation.
What Must Prosecutors Prove in a Federal Aggravated Identity Theft Case? To prove a federal aggravated identity theft case, the prosecutor must establish three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
The consequences of being convicted of federal aggravated identity theft can be severe. If a person is convicted of federal aggravated identity theft, the judge must impose a two-year identity theft prison sentence, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed in the case. This means that a defendant could face years of imprisonment, fines, and other penalties for this crime.
The Spodek Law Group, led by experienced attorney Todd Spodek, has successfully represented clients facing charges of federal aggravated identity theft. They understand the complex laws surrounding this crime and will work tirelessly to protect their clients’ rights and freedom. If you or someone you know has been accused of federal aggravated identity theft, contact the Spodek Law Group today to schedule a consultation.
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