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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Federal Aggravated Identity Theft

By Spodek Law Group | February 13, 2023

Aggravated Identity Theft: A Crime That Goes Beyond Just Stealing Identity

Identity theft is a heinous crime that has plagued millions of Americans, causing emotional, financial, and reputational damage. It’s a crime that can leave its victims feeling violated, helpless, and frustrated. But what happens when identity theft is taken to another level, when it becomes aggravated identity theft? This is where things can get a lot more serious and where the law comes down even harder.

What Is Aggravated Identity Theft?

Aggravated identity theft is a crime that occurs when someone knowingly uses another person’s identification without permission and then uses that identification during or in relation to a felony violation. In other words, it’s when someone steals another person’s identity and uses it to commit a crime. It’s different from simple identity theft because it involves committing a crime using someone else’s identity.

The goal of the government is to strengthen the existing federal laws regarding identity theft, which victimizes millions of Americans every year. According to some sources, around 12 to 16 million Americans were victimized in 2012 alone.

The Law Surrounding Aggravated Identity Theft

In 1998, Congress enacted the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act to prohibit the use of another person’s identifying information in connection with any federal crime, or any state or local felony. However, 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.

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. This is in addition to the monetary harm caused to the victim.

Why Is Aggravated Identity Theft So Serious?

Congress was concerned that defendants who committed identity theft were not being adequately punished for all of the non-monetary harm they also caused their victims. As a result, aggravated identity theft carries mandatory additional prison sentences. The law makes it clear that the government must prove that identity was stolen, and a crime was committed.

But what if a person has an identifying document in their possession, but they don’t use it? Arguably, 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.”

Get the Legal Help You Need

If you are facing charges of identity theft, you need an experienced attorney who understands the law and knows how to apply it to your specific situation. At Spodek Law Group, our lead attorney, Todd Spodek, has the knowledge and experience to help you develop a strong defense strategy against identity theft charges.

Successfully handling federal charges requires extensive knowledge of federal law and an even deeper understanding of how to apply it to your specific case. At Spodek Law Group, we have the expertise you need to protect your rights and get the best possible outcome. Call us at 888-977-6335 or send us an email to make an appointment at one of our offices in New York, Los Angeles, or Miami. We accept credit cards.

Understanding Federal Aggravated Identity Theft

Federal aggravated identity theft is a serious offense that occurs when an individual uses someone else’s personal information for illegal activities. This can happen in connection with various crimes, such as bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, theft of public money, and many others. But what exactly does it mean for identity theft to be “aggravated”?

In short, it means that the crime was committed during and in relation to certain offenses, as outlined above. But the consequences of aggravated identity theft go beyond just the underlying crime. If convicted, a defendant will face a mandatory two-year prison sentence, on top of any other sentence for the underlying offense.

What Must Be Proven in a Federal Aggravated Identity Theft Case?

To secure a conviction for federal aggravated identity theft, the prosecution must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt. These include demonstrating that the defendant knowingly transferred, possessed, or used someone else’s means of identification or identification documents, without lawful authority, and during and in relation to the eligible felony alleged in the indictment.

Defining “Means of Identification”

The law defines “means of identification” as any name or number used, alone or in combination with other information, to identify a specific person. This can include a person’s name, social security number, date of birth, driver’s license or identification number, passport number, and more.

The Potential Consequences of a Conviction

The consequences of a federal aggravated identity theft conviction are severe. As noted, a defendant will face a mandatory two-year prison sentence, which will run consecutively to any other sentence imposed in the case. This means that a person convicted of both bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, for example, could face a total of five years in prison.

Contact Spodek Law Group for Experienced Federal Criminal Defense

If you’re facing charges for federal aggravated identity theft in Tampa, Florida, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side. At Spodek Law Group, our experienced attorneys, including Todd Spodek, are committed to providing the best possible defense to our clients.

Unlike other law firms, we understand the stress and anxiety that come with facing federal criminal charges, which is why we take a personalized approach to every case we handle. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Contact Spodek Law Group today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced federal criminal defense lawyers.


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