Charged with Identity Theft by Feds in NJ
It is no secret that the internet has made identity theft a much easier crime to commit. Due to the fact that the vast majority of the population has access to the internet and for the most part, most individual’s store their personal information on their computers, the ability to assume one’s identity in hopes of gaining an economic benefit has been made that much easier. For the most part, identity theft crimes are prosecuted in State Court. However, when the dollar amount obtained is significant or the number of victim’s is widespread, the Federal Government will get involved. Over the years the scams that we see being run throughout the tri-state area have become more and more sophisticated. Since most of these new scams are so sophisticated, they tend to be aggressively investigated by the Federal Government, whether it agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigators, Secret Service or the Internal Revenue Service in an effort quickly learn how to combat them. It probably goes without saying but when the Federal Government chooses to investigate or prosecuted identity theft crimes, as opposed to letting the State handle the matters, the stakes are certainly raised. As a whole, the potential exposure an individual faces in Federal Court is far greater then they would receive in State Court. If you or a loved one is being investigated by the feds for a identity theft, computer hacking, mail fraud, wire fraud, credit card fraud or any other crime for that matter Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. To set up a free initial consultation today, please contact our office at 732.858.6959.
Being Investigated for Federal Identity Theft in New Jersey
Being investigated for a crime in general is not something to take lightly but if the Federal Government is actively investigating you for a crime, you certainly should not underestimate the situation. It is not the norm for the feds to be involved in an identity theft related scheme. For the most part, these types of investigations are left to the local state authorities. But if the scheme is big enough or the economic gain is substantial enough the feds will certainly divert their time and resources to investigate it. Since most identity theft crimes involve the internet in some way shape or form, jurisdiction typically wont be an issue. Therefore, the individual could be facing criminal investigation and criminal prosecution in both Federal Court and State Court for what amounts to the same conduct. If the United States Attorney’s Office seeks prosecute, they will charge the individual under 18 U.S.C § 1028.
Can the Feds Charge Someone with Identity Theft?
Anyone charged with an identity theft related crime will be prosecuted pursuant to 18 U.S.C § 1028. This statute gives the Federal Government the ability to prosecute those alleged to have misused and/or assumed another’s identity, whether personal or financial to obtain a benefit. Some of the most common personal information that is “stolen” includes: Driver’s License Number, Banking Account Information, Credit Card Information and Social Security Number. Most of this information is “stolen” via the internet, meaning someone’s account is hacked. Other common methods include various schemes. One of the most rampant schemes we have seen over the years is when an individual receives a phone calls or text messages indicating that a loved one is in trouble and that they need provide the person with certain amount of money immediately to help them out. The schemes are endless but the goal is the same, obtain either a direct economic benefit or obtain their personal information in order to turn it into an economic benefit.
Facing Aggravated Identity Theft Charges in Federal Court
Identity theft was becoming so rampant that in 2004, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act was created to tack on additional penalties for anyone convicted of Aggravated Identity Theft. 18 U.S.C § 1028A, which covers aggravated identity theft, states in pertinent part:
- Whoever, during and in relation to any felony violation enumerated in subsection (c), knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such felony, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years.
- Subsection (c) includes the following felony offenses:
- Section 641 (relating to theft of public money, property, or rewards), section 656 (relating to theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by bank officer or employee), or section 664 (relating to theft from employee benefit plans);
- Section 911 (relating to false personation of citizenship);
- Section 922(a)(6) (relating to false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm);
- Any provision contained in this chapter (relating to fraud and false statements), other than this section or section 1028(a)(7);
- Any provision contained in chapter 63 (relating to mail, bank, and wire fraud);
- Any provision contained in chapter 69 (relating to nationality and citizenship);
- Any provision contained in chapter 75 (relating to passports and visas);
- Section 523 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (15 U.S.C. 6823) (relating to obtaining customer information by false pretenses);
- Section 243 or 266 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1253 and 1306) (relating to willfully failing to leave the United States after deportation and creating a counterfeit alien registration card);
- Any provision contained in chapter 8 of title II of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1321 et seq.) (relating to various immigration offenses); or
- Section 208, 811, 1107(b), 1128B(a), or 1632 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 408, 1011, 1307(b), 1320a–7b(a), and 1383a) (relating to false statements relating to programs under the Act).
- Subsection (c) includes the following felony offenses:
How Much Jail Time is there for a Federal Identity Theft Charge?
If charged and ultimately convicted of identity theft in Federal Court for the production or transfer of an identification document or for possessing equipment to produce fraudulent documents you will be facing up to fifteen years in prison. If convicted of identity theft for the purposes of trafficking drugs or in connection with another violent crime, then you will be facing up twenty (20) years. If the identity theft was to aid or commit domestic or international terrorism, then you will be facing up to thirty years.
Need a Lawyer to Fight a Federal Identity Theft Charge
If you are currently being investigated for federal identity theft or aggravated identity theft in New Jersey we strongly urge that you speak to a criminal defense lawyer about your options prior to speaking to agents. Understanding all your options is paramount to a successful defense. To set up a free initial consultation today with one of the attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law, please contact our office at 732.858.6959. One of our attorneys would be glad to sit down and discuss your case with you. We handle all types of federal matters including, drug charges, racketeering, credit card fraud, child pornography as well as matters on Sandy Hook like driving while intoxicated and drug possession.