Articles Tagged with identity theft

The unauthorized use, or even possession, of someone else’s personal identifying information can result in charges of identity theft. Identity theft is a crime that occurs when someone uses another person’s personal information to pose as the person in order to obtain goods, services, or something of value, like credit.

According to 2018 Identity Fraud: Fraud Enters a New Era of Complexity from Javelin Strategy & Research, in 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud, a record high that followed a previous record the year before.

A common identity theft scenario might involve calling someone and claiming to be a representative from the bank or IRS. During the call, a person is asked to verify his or her financial and identifying information, like a mailing address, date of birth, bank account number, or social security number. That information is used then, to make unlawful withdrawals from the person’s bank account.

Identity Theft in California

In California, the law against identity theft is found in Penal Code Section 530.5. Under the Penal Code, identity theft is obtaining and using another person’s personal information for an unlawful or fraudulent purpose, as follows:

  • Obtaining and using another person’s information without their consent for an unlawful purpose;
  • Obtaining and using another person’s information without their consent to commit fraud;
  • Selling, transferring or conveying another’s personal information without their consent with the intent to commit fraud, and
  • Selling, transferring or conveying another’s personal information without their consent knowing that the information will be used to commit fraud,

Identity Theft Penalties

Identity theft is a wobbler offense in California. This means that it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the facts of the offense and the accused person’s criminal history. A misdemeanor conviction will result in up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A felony conviction will result in up to three years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.

Examples of Identity Theft

Examples of identity theft include:

  • Stolen checks;
  • Stolen ATM cards;
  • Fraudulent change of address;
  • Social security number misuse;
  • Passport misuse;
  • Driver license number misuse; and
  • False civil and criminal judgment.

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Identity theft is a crime in California. Identity theft relates to the deliberate use of someone else’s name and identifying information to obtain a financial benefit. Criminal identity theft is a separate crime and relates to using another person’s name and identifying information resulting in a criminal conviction record being created in that person’s name. This post will discuss identity theft crimes.

What is Identity Theft?

California Penal Code 530 is the section of the criminal law code that deals with identity theft crimes. San Diego police and the district attorney’s office have specialized units that investigate, arrest, and charge individuals accused of identity theft crimes. A growing state and national issue, identity theft crimes are aggressively prosecuted at both the state and federal level.

Identity theft or fraud describe crimes in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, most often for economic gain. Identity theft is a federal and state offense.

Federal identity theft charges are often accompanied by other crimes. They are identification fraud, credit card fraud, computer fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, or financial institution fraud.

What are the Criminal Penalties for Identity Theft Charges?

In California, identity theft crimes are penalties punishable by up to three years of state prison, restitution to the victim, court costs and fines, and post-release parole supervision.

The federal identity theft crimes listed above are felonies and can result in up to 30 years of imprisonment in a federal detention or correctional center.

Charged Under California’s Identity Theft Laws? Hire a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney

A criminal case usually starts with a police arrest report. The prosecutor then decides what criminal charges to file. Some cases go to a grand jury for a preliminary indictment, where a jury decides if there is enough evidence to proceed. If you or someone you know is facing identity theft charges in California, contact the San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney.

California offers pretrial diversion programs for first-time offenders as an alternative to prosecution. Eligibility depends on age and prior criminal record. Criminal charges under the pretrial diversion program are dismissed if the person successfully completes court mandated programs and conditions within a specified time frame. Continue reading

According to police, a woman in North Miami Beach, Florida was arrested at a nightclub and was using someone else’s Driver’s license to cheat the system. On the night of April 17th, the suspect was allegedly being disruptive and even pushed bouncers at the G5ive club. She also allegedly pushed an officer when police arrive at the scene. When she was taken into custody, she gave a fake driver’s license with the name and address of a woman who lives in Los Angeles, California. She was fingerprinted, but the fingerprints would only confirm her identity  if she had a prior criminal history.

As a result, this woman has since paid bail and left the area under the California woman’s name.  She also did not show up on her court date, which resulted in a letter being sent to the California address. The true victim in this case called the police and stated she has never even been to Miami.

Prosecutors said she fooled everyone with the fake driver’s license. In this case, officials are asking for the public’s help in identifying her. Unless this is cleared up, the victim of the identity theft will now have to carry a letter with her at all times in case she is ever stopped by authorities to prove that she has never in fact committed a crime.

It is a Crime to Use a Fake Driver’s License or ID

Under California Penal Code § 470(b), it is a crime (either a misdemeanor or felony) to display or possess any fake ID with the intent to commit a forgery or fraud. The legal definition of displaying a fake ID also consists of the following elements:

  • You possessed/displayed a government issued ID card such as driver’s license, social security card, or passport;
  • That ID card was altered, counterfeited, reproduced, or forged;
  • Your knew it was a fake ID.

Specifically, teenage minors under the age of 18 who are caught with a fake ID face a fine of $250 and 24-32 hours of community service and a one-year suspension of their driver’s license.    Continue reading

Earlier this month, five suspects from Santa Ana, Orange County were arrested for their suspected connection with a fraud and identity theft ring. Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Nhan Hoang Pham, 29, of Fountain Valley, Lam Thanh Bui, 30, of Garden Grove, Chieu Bach Nguyen, 29, of Santa Ana, and Keeta Thilauan, 25, for multiple alleged thefts and burglaries in the past several months. A fifth suspect, according to inmate records, is listed under two names.

The SWAT team and Sheriff’s investigators issued search warrants and did a parole and probation check on the suspects. The team raided the home of the five and found weapons, a half pound of methamphetamine, several thousand dollars, and gift cards. They also found fraudulently obtained credit cards, identity theft profiles, computers, cell phones, and data storage devices. Authorities believe the ring is operating throughout California in conjunction  with a larger crime ring. They further believe there are hundreds of potential identity theft victims that they are trying to identify through financial information from the searches.

California Identity Theft Laws (CA Penal Code 530.5)

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