A person commits a crime of identity theft when they impersonate someone else to obtain their personal information for a profit. This, of course, considering that they do not have the victim’s consent to see those records. How the person gets that information and what they do with it will dictate the court’s sentence.
Stealing personal information
Some people act as someone else so that an institution can give them certain information about the person they are pretending to be. This theft of information is not limited to bank account numbers, as one would think. It is also illegal to obtain the following records of a person without their consent:
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Place of business or employment
The court will punish anyone who obtains information with the intent of getting something of value in return. It is also a felony if that person creates or alters another’s information to get money, goods, service or property. The penalties for these crimes are imprisonment for one to five years or a fine of $100,000. Sometimes, an identity thief will have to both go to prison and pay the fine.
The penalties are lesser for those who get information to sell it to a third party that wants to obtain another personal document of the victim. In this case, the court will impose a sentence of maximum a year in county jail or a fine of $100,000 on the thief.
Stealing information from a financial institution
The consequences are different for someone who makes a fraudulent statement to an officer, employee or agent of a financial institution to obtain the financial information of another person. In this case, the court would send that person to prison for no more than 10 years if found guilty. Also, those convicted of this type of crime will have to pay a determined amount to the institution’s clients from which they stole the information.
Identity theft is one of the many crimes that fall into the false impersonation category. To commit identity theft, the person must have done so with the intent of stealing and getting something out of it. This means that a person accused of this crime may receive a lesser sentence if they can prove that they did not steal that information with fraudulent objectives. In any case, it would be in the best interests of anyone charged with an identity theft crime to seek legal representation in court.