Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act
The Federal Government prosecutes cases of identity theft by using several Federal laws. In 1988, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (18 U.S.C. § 1028).
This new law created a new federal offense of identity theft. The law specifically prohibits the knowing transfer or use, without lawful authority, identifying information of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid another, any unlawful activity that is a violation of Federal law, or a felony pursuant to any State law.
Can it get any worse? Yes, meet the § 1028A enhancement
In addition the above, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act (18 U.S.C. § 1028A), set increased penalties for the crime of aggravated identity theft. The additional penalties apply to cases where identity theft has been used in the course of more serious crimes, (or "underlying offenses"), such as healthcare fraud, terrorist acts, mail fraud, wire fraud, and firearm violations. Thus, a defendant can be facing additional incarceration when the government alleges that the defendant used another’s identifying information in the course of committing a separate Federal criminal offense.
Other Federal statutes generally associated with identity theft crimes are
(a) credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029);
(b) computer fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030);
(c) mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341);
(d) wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343);
and (e) financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344).
How to fight back
Thankfully, there are defenses to identity theft. Consider, for instance, lack of knowledge in a credit card fraud case. The Government has to prove that the accused knowingly used a fraudulent credit card.
Which is why it's critically important to hire an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney to develop an effective defense strategy and to fight the Government on key issues such as knowledge, intent and intended (versus actual) loss.
There is hope
If you or a loved one is arrested and charged with a Federal identity theft crime, please call our 24-hour telephone number 305-461-1066 to set up an appointment and free consultation so we can assess your particular case and provide you with the best legal advice on how to proceed.
We are solely a Criminal Defense Law Firm. That's all we do and all we have done since 1987.