UNDERSTANDING MASSACHUSETTS IDENTITY THEFT LAWS
Identity theft, or identity fraud, involves someone pretending to be someone else by assuming their identity, usually to gain access to credit or other resources, obtain a loan, or commit fraud. It is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country and can take on a variety of forms.
People gain access to personal identifying information, such as a Social Security number or credit card account, in a variety of ways, ranging from simple rummaging through the trash to sophisticated computer hacking schemes.
Identity fraud can be a state and federal crime. A number of federal agencies may be involved in investigating and prosecuting identity theft. These include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, and even the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Identity theft can be prosecuted under a number of statutes, including the Identity Theft Assumption Deterrence Act.
WHAT ARE MASSACHUSETTS’ IDENTITY THEFT PENALTIES?
Under federal law, individuals convicted of forgery, using a fake ID, or other forms of identity theft can face 15 years or more in prison. Fines may also be assessed. Other crimes related to the fraud can result in further criminal proceedings and additional penalties. There are specific provisions in the law for offenses related to passports and for aggravated identity theft.
A number of states have specific laws to address identity theft, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The state provides for up to 36 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. A defendant may also be forced to pay costs to the victim.
DHAR LAW, LLP IDENTITY FRAUD LEGAL COUNSEL
If you become the target of an investigation, or upon receiving a subpoena, you may not know how to respond. Once you become aware of an investigation, legal counsel can help to make the difficult decisions about what your next step should be.
Potential defenses can include arguing lack of the intent to defraud or use someone’s identity without their permission. A variety of other legal defenses may be appropriate depending upon the unique circumstances of your case.
At Dhar Law, LLP, our committed attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in the full scope of criminal matters, government and other disciplinary hearings, commercial business litigation, and more. You will work with an experienced white collar crimes lawyer who is focused in this practice area. With an overwhelming number of laws and agencies involved in identity theft and identity fraud, these issues can be complicated.If you face charges or an investigation, or have any questions about identity theft, call 617-880-6155 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with our Boston identity theft attorneys.