Identity theft is a major issue that plagues thousands of Americans every year. Identity theft is taken very seriously now because it has the potential to financially ruin a person whose identity is stolen. Identity theft can happen virtually anywhere. While we see identity theft committed at the Arizona MVD and in banks across the state, this crime is often committed without any witnesses through the internet, so it is important to keep in mind that you are innocent until proven guilty if you have been arrested for charges of identity theft. Contact an experienced Phoenix identity theft and forgery attorney today to begin forming your defense strategy.
Identity theft, classified under the Fraud & Identity Theft Enforcement Bureau, is a modern white collar crime and is tricky to discover due to the emergence of the internet. Arizona is one of the top states in fraud and identity theft crimes, which target people of all ages in all professions. It has been found in more recent cases that both the state and federal laws provide harsher punishments for anyone convicted. Just last year, for example, an Arizona man was sentenced to a 30 year prison term for stealing and fraudulently using credit cards he took from a woman he dated. The man additionally will serve a concurrent 15-year sentence for aggravated identity theft, indicating the magnitude of the crime itself.
The crime of identity theft involves theft of a person’s personal or financial information in order to commit fraud, such as:
Under Arizona law, identity theft and forgery can come with quite severe punishments. Arizona classifies felony offenses by first stating the “presumptive” penalty, which can be either increased or decreased depending on outside circumstances.
Identity theft is a Class 4 felony, with a 2.5 year presumptive prison term. However, aggravated identity theft may occur by taking the identity of 5 or more persons or by causing the financial loss of $3,000 to one person. Aggravated identity theft is a Class 3 felony, with a 3.5 year presumptive prison sentence. Trafficking in the identity of another person refers to the sale or transfer of personal identifying information without the victim’s consent to cause a loss. This is a Class 2 felony with a 5 year presumptive prison sentence.
A person may also be subject to federal charges if they crossed state lines to commit identity theft or fraud, or acquired the victim’s identity over the internet. Federal charges can be quite severe as well, with a punishment range of anywhere from 5 to 30 years in federal prison.
If you have been accused of identity theft, contact the Orent Law Offices. Phoenix identity theft and forgery attorney Craig Orent has over 25 years experience as a defense lawyer, defending clients against criminal charges, and will work tirelessly on your case. He will examine all aspects of your case to ensure the court is aware of all mitigating factors that could reduce your punishment range down from the state mandated presumptive range.