Federal Crimes Blog

What is Identity Theft Under Federal Law?

Posted by Hedding Law Firm | May 29, 2020

What Exactly Is Identity Theft? Is This A Federal Offense?

Identity theft can come about in different ways. It can come up at the federal level or filed at the state level. At the federal level, you're usually going to see a level of sophistication involved where somebody is using someone else's identity.

The identity used could be an unknown person's identity, or someone who they made up in order to commit some sort of criminal activity that impacts a person's identity or the federal government.

A lot of these identity frauds will impact banks, which are federally insured by the government. That will trigger the FBI, they will become involved to investigate the case, and they will then pass the case to the assisting United States attorney to prosecute it.

A lot of schemes are prevalent on the internet in which people trick others into giving them money. They're taking their information and using it to gain access to goods, services, money, and/or identity. This would put you in the realm of identity theft and other white collar related offenses.

What is Identity Theft Under Federal Law?

There is a whole gamut of identity theft that is prosecuted at the federal level. Most of it has to do with the internet, such as people committing fraudulent activities by sending people emails to try to capture a person's information and using it to commit a crime.

Therefore, if you're being charged for some sort of identity theft, or if you're being investigated for identity theft at the federal level, your best bet is to get in touch with an attorney like me immediately.

Let your attorney be the one who deals with the federal agents or prosecutors on your behalf so you don't do anything that gets you into further trouble, which might be the best thing that the government needs in order to prosecute you.

A lot of identity theft cases are hard for law enforcement to crack, and they're difficult for them to figure out because the people are isolating, hiding the IP addresses of the internet, and shielding their identity in various different ways.

But, the Feds have also developed numerous ways to be able to identify those people who are committing identity thefts. They are executing search warrants on your computers and/or using experts to hack into various systems on the internet to figure out who is involved with the identity theft while tracking what they are doing.

Retain a Federal Criminal Lawyer Immediately

If you've been charged or are being investigated, or if a loved one is being investigated, you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Let the attorney start making the right moves. Your attorney can contact the right people and begin to build your defense to properly defend you if a case is filed against you.

Afterward, you are going to have to move pretty quickly. The Feds have an advantage because they've had time to look at things and investigate them. You need your attorney to try to catch up so that you can at least have an argument to get out of custody.

Most of the time, in federal identity theft cases, the government can portray you as somebody who is very dangerous to the people, and therefore, you need to be detained while their case is pending. It can take months or even years to sort out an identity theft case.

In the meantime, you will be sitting in federal custody versus if you have an attorney, they can try to make an argument to get you out of custody so that you can fight your case from the outside. You'll also be able to help your attorney instead of being limited in custody while your case is pending.

At the moment, there are a lot of federal identity theft cases being investigated and prosecuted. So, if you have a federal identity theft case, pick up the phone and make a call. By getting involved with your case from the beginning, I can make sure that you get the best possible outcome.

If I Had Authorization To Use Someone Else's Identity, Is That Enough Of A Defense?

If somebody gives you authorization to use their information, and you're using it in the course of working for them, then you can use that as a defense if someone is trying to claim that you're committing identity fraud or theft.

However, what usually happens in a scenario like that is that the person who has limited authorization to use someone's information goes beyond the scope of the authorization, and uses it to gain more goods, services, money, credit, or whatever the case may be.

And now, they no longer have authorization. In other words, how the cross-examination or direct examination would work is that the government will inquire whether that person had authorization to write a check or use a credit card for a certain amount.

If the answer is no, and if the defendant exceeded the scope of that authorization, the government can certainly make an argument to prosecute for identity theft because they did not have permission to use the person's identity or information. And if the jury believes that the person went too far, then they can convict that person for identity theft.

That's why it is very important to get an attorney right away, and let them know what's going on with your case. That way, you can put yourself in the strongest position. You can get the best outcome and make a good determination of whether you could actually fight and win the case.

That's probably the first thing you need to decide when it comes to identity theft cases because if you can't win the case, trying to fight may not be a good idea. Sometimes it only acts to anger the prosecutors, and dig you deeper into the issues that got you arrested in the first place.

What Penalties Am I Facing In Federal Court If Convicted On Identity Theft?

When it comes to identity theft charges, judges and prosecutors, will often try to give very severe sentences because they feel like you are taking advantage of some entity or individual. And most of the time, you hurt that person in many different ways, which can be very difficult to recover from, especially if you damage that person's credit.

On the other hand, they are also going to look at the extent of how much you impacted the person. They'll look at the money versus the loss. The more money the entity lost, the longer sentence you will be looking at in federal prison.

Furthermore, if you impacted multiple victims in a case, that is another factor that would cause you to be looking at more time in federal custody. They are also going to look at your criminal history. If you were involved in this type of theft before, that would certainly impact the amount of time you will be serving at the federal level.

Therefore, when you are trying to evaluate how much custody time you might get in a federal identity theft case, you really need to look at the person's criminal record, the number of victims impacted, and the extent of the sophistication that was involved.

They'll also take into account whether the internet was used, and how much effort the government has to put forth in order to crack the case and figure out exactly what the person did.

Lastly, you need to consider that the federal judge is the one who makes the final decision on the kind of sentence a person will get in an identity theft case at the federal level. That person's going to look at multiple issues related to these types of cases, including your age, criminal record, and what you did in the federal case.

Therefore, the best bet is to get an attorney like me who has been doing this for a long time. It's always best to be honest and recount exactly what happened. Everything you say is going to be protected by the attorney-client privilege.

And so, as your federal criminal defense attorney, I am going to need to know what happened, what you did, and what you didn't do so that we can put you in the best position to get the best possible result in your federal criminal case.

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