The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 16.6 million Americans experienced at least one incident of identity theft in 2012. State and county attorneys are vigorously prosecuting identity theft cases. If you have been charged with the crime of identity theft in Central Kentucky, you will need an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney like Dan Carman.
Society takes identity theft seriously, and so does Dan Carman, Attorney at Law, PLLC. Contact us by phone at (859) 685-1055 or through our online form if you are or anticipate that you may be facing identity theft charges. Even if the investigation has just begun, you will benefit from having an experienced defense attorney at your side and representing you during questioning.
What constitutes identity theft?
Identity theft includes three general types of incidents:
- unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing account, including debit or credit card accounts
- misuse of personal information to open a new account
- misuse of personal information for a fraudulent purpose, such as to obtain government benefits.
The first type listed, misuse of an existing account, is by far the most common type of identity theft, with 15.3 million people being targeted in 2012. Usually the crime is uncovered when a financial institution notices suspicious activity on the account.
You can be found guilty of identity fraud even if you never actually benefit from your actions. The definition of identity theft includes attempted use of someone else’s information, or even possession of that information with the intent to use it later. It doesn’t matter whether you ever got around to purchasing something with someone’s personal information.
Identity Theft Laws in Kentucky
There are a number of laws on the books in Kentucky that relate to identity theft. Notice that all identity theft crimes are felonies. State laws on identity theft are:
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §434.872 Disclosure of information from financial information repository (Class D felony)
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §434.874 Trafficking in financial information (Class C felony)
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §514.160 Theft of identity (Class D felony). Kentucky is one of five states that have forfeiture provisions for identity theft crimes.
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §517.170 Trafficking in stolen identities (Class C felony)
- Ky. Rev. Stat. §532.034, requiring restitution for financial loss sustained by a victim when defendant is found guilty of any provisions of KRS 434.872, 434.874, 514.160, or 514.170.
- Also, if multiple defendants are involved in the same case, they may face charges of Engaging in Organized Crime (Criminal Syndicate) under Ky. Rev. Stat. §506.120.
Federal Laws Against Identity Theft
Identity theft is also prosecuted under federal statutes. Federal prosecutors work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service to prosecute identity theft and fraud cases.
Schemes to commit identity theft or fraud may be prosecuted under statutes such as those relating to identification fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1028), credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029), computer fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343), or financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344).
Penalties for Identity Theft
A state conviction for identity theft can carry serious penalties, including fines, forfeiture and jail time. Identity theft is a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years’ imprisonment. Trafficking in stolen identities is a Class C felony, punishable by five to ten years in prison. All felonies in Kentucky are also punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
This may include any costs incurred by the victim in correcting his or her credit history or any costs incurred in connection with any civil or administrative proceeding to satisfy any debt or other obligation of the victim, including lost wages and attorney’s fees. In addition to the individual victim, restitution may be required to a financial institution, insurance company, or bonding association that suffers direct financial loss as a result of the violation.
These federal offenses are felonies that carry substantial penalties - in some cases, as high as 30 years’ imprisonment, fines, and criminal forfeiture.
HELP IS AVAILABLE
At Dan Carman, Attorney at Law, PLLC, our respectful relationships with local and federal prosecutors allow us to closely analyze the evidence they have, to discuss alternatives with them, and to mount a defense against identity theft charges which will result in the most favorable outcome for you.
If you are facing charges of credit card fraud, theft of access cards, internet crimes or other identity theft charges, call Dan Carman at (859) 685-1055. Dan is admitted to practice in all Kentucky state courts, the federal courts in both Eastern and Western Kentucky, and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. His experience in all facets of criminal law will enable him to identify and develop your best defense. Fill out our online contact form or call today.