In today’s information age, identity theft crimes have swept the
nation. With the terms check fraud, immigration fraud, healthcare fraud,
credit card fraud, and insurance fraud circulating around, one might wonder,
“What exactly is identity theft?”
Identity theft is when someone takes another person’s personal information,
such as their name, Social Security number, driver’s license number,
birth certificate, bank or credit card number and uses it for an illegal
purpose. In effect, “identity theft” is somewhat of an umbrella
term that can be associated with various
A person can commit identity theft when they:
- Unlawfully use someone else’s checks
- Use someone else’s insurance ID number to use their health insurance
- Use someone else’s credit or debit card without their consent
- Use someone else’s driver’s license, Social Security number
or birth certificate to obtain some type of benefits illegally, such as
food stamps or Medical,
- Use someone else’s Social Security number to obtain a tax refund,
to file bankruptcy, to receive Social Security Disability benefits, an
auto or home loan,
- Use someone else’s identity to commit immigration fraud, and
- Much more.
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft – everyday citizens, business
men and women, famous celebrities, children, and even those who passed
away. In California, identity theft is criminalized under
Penal Code Section 530.5.
However, identity theft is also criminalized under federal law, which means
that a person who commits identity theft could be subjected to federal
As a standard rule, the penalties (fines and imprisonment) for a crime,
such as identity theft are much harsher if they are prosecuted on the
federal level than they would be if they were prosecuted on the state level.
Identity Theft on the Federal Level
In 1998, Congress passed the
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, which made identity theft a federal crime. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7),
identity theft in most cases is punishable by a fine, and a maximum term
of imprisonment of 15 years.
If you are facing identity theft charges on the state or
federal level in Orange County,
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a
free case evaluation!