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An increasingly common crime in the digital age involves alleged offenders using the personal information of another party to obtain goods or services. Identity theft can include lines of credit or other items of value. This illegal impersonation is commonly referred to as identity theft. A person accused of identity theft can face serious state or federal charges.
Victims of these crimes often want restitution and prosecutors will also seek harsh additional penalties that include incarceration and fines. It is not uncommon though for the criminal charges to stem from misidentification of the alleged offenders or honest misunderstandings in which the people accused of wrongdoing were given permission to use the personal information in question.
Were you arrested or are you under investigation for alleged identity theft in Texas? You should refuse to make any statement to investigators without legal representation.
The experienced San Antonio criminal defense attorneys of Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr have been defending clients throughout Bexar County and surrounding areas since 1968. We will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation when you call 210-226-1463 today.
Identity theft is referred to in Texas Penal Code § 32.51 as “fraudulent use or possession of identifying information.” Alleged offenders commit this crime if they, with the intent to harm or defraud another, obtain, possess, transfer, or use an item of:
Identifying information is defined as information that alone or in conjunction with other information identifies a person, including that person's:
The classification of this crime depends on the number of items that were allegedly obtained, possessed, transferred, or used in the commission of the offense. An alleged offender could face the following penalties for identity theft in Texas:
A court can also order an alleged offender to make restitution to the victim of the offense for lost income or other expenses, other than attorney's fees, incurred as a result of the offense. Additionally, alleged offenders may also be prosecuted for separate offenses that were committed in connection with identity theft.
When Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act in 1998, it amended 18 U.S. Code § 1028 to make it a federal crime for an alleged offender to “knowingly transfer or use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.”
Six years later, the passage of the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act established penalties for the federal crime of aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S. Code § 1028A.
Alleged offenders can be charged with general identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028 if they:
A conviction for one of the offenses listed above can result in a fine and a prison sentence of up to 15 years. If the alleged offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, in connection with a crime of violence, or after a prior identity theft conviction becomes final, then a conviction may result in a fine and a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
If an alleged offender’s violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028 was committed to facilitate an act of domestic or an international terrorism, then a conviction could result in a fine and a prison sentence of up to 30 years. Similarly, aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A is defined as an alleged offender using the identity of another person to commit a felony offense.
Aggravated identity theft offenses carry the same maximum penalties as general identity theft crimes, but they also involve mandatory minimum sentences. If an alleged offender’s aggravated identity theft offense was committed in relation to an act of terrorism, a conviction can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. All other aggravated identity theft crimes can result in mandatory minimum sentences of two years in prison.
Identity Theft | Bexar County, TX — The Bexar County Criminal District Attorney's Office prosecutes cases of identity theft committed within its jurisdiction. On this website, you can learn more about the warning signs of identity theft, what to do if you are a victim of identity theft, and how to protect your identity. You can also file a criminal complaint from this website with your respective law enforcement agency that may present the case to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution if there is enough evidence and a suspect has been identified.
Bexar County Criminal District Attorney's Office
101 West Nueva
San Antonio, TX 78205
Fighting Identity Theft | Texas Attorney General — As the chief legal and law enforcement officer in Texas, the attorney general considers consumer education to be “a vital part” of the office's mission. You can learn more about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft on this website. It also provides information relating to the six steps to take if you believe you are an identity theft victim.
If you believe that you are currently under investigation or you have been arrested for alleged identity theft, it will be in your best interest to immediately seek the help of experienced legal counsel. Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr defends clients accused of all kinds of white collar crimes in communities throughout Bexar County.
Our San Antonio criminal defense attorneys are licensed to represent alleged offenders in both federal courts and state courts throughout Texas. You can receive a complete review of your case by calling 210-226-1463 or completing an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.