When a person is accused of, or is being investigated for identity theft, they will likely be prosecuted in federal court in Washington, DC. In this situation, a person needs a DC federal identity theft lawyer who can fight for the person’s rights.
Once a person learns that they have been accused of or is being investigated for identity theft, they should become aware of the affects this can have on a person’s future. A person should consider speaking with a DC federal identity theft attorney so that they can understand their rights before they agree to an interview with law enforcement or have any conversations with the alleged victim.
Not every defense attorney is admitted to practice in federal court, so if a person is facing serious charges for identity theft, it is imperative that they find a federal criminal defense lawyer who is equipped to successfully represent clients charged by the US government in federal court.
There are a myriad of means by which identity theft occurs. Any personal information that can be used to defraud the victim or another individual or entity is subject to theft. Vital information that is often at the helm of an identity theft claim includes the following:
More sophisticated theft may involve the theft of iris scans, fingerprints, and other personalized biometric data. However, as technology continues to advance and information is transmitted in vast quantities with the simple press of a button, mistakes can be made. It is important that a person consults with a DC federal identity theft lawyer who can defend a person if digital technology plays a role in the case.
Each year, millions of Americans fall victim to one form of identity theft or another. Although the means and intent behind the offense may differ, all identity theft has one thing in common: a person’s personal information is wrongfully obtained by another person or party with the intent of committing theft, fraud, or another crime.
As the frequency of identity theft cases began to increase in the United States, Congress took action in 1998 to establish the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. Under this Act, 18 U.S. Code § 1028 was amended to make it a federal offense to commit, attempt to commit, or aid in the commission of identity theft. Because fraud which involves the illicit use of another’s personal information and is a federal crime, these cases are prosecuted in United States District Court. For such charges in Washington, D.C., the cases pass through the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which is located at 333 Constitution Avenue NW.
In federal court in Washington, DC, identity theft cases are prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys.
These cases can be investigated by a number of different law enforcement agencies including: the Metropolitan Police Department, the Metro Transit Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Secret Service and a host of other local and federal law enforcement agencies.
A person accused of federal identity theft may first learn they are being investigated if they are visited by law enforcement and/or asked to give a formal statement to police about an alleged identity theft incident.
Other indications that a person is being investigated includes: search warrants served at a person’s home or place of business, receiving a letter from the US Attorney’s Office saying that the person is a “target” of a federal identity theft investigation or being told by a friend or family member that they have reported a person to the police for federal identity theft.
On its identity theft web page, the FBI states, “A stolen identity is a powerful cloak of anonymity for criminals and terrorists…and a danger to national security and private citizens alike.” Far beyond one individual’s theft of another’s account, information for the means of personal financial gain – such as a shopping spree at another’s expense – much larger schemes may be orchestrated for the funding and aid of terrorist regimes, to facilitate drug trafficking, or in connection with violent crimes.
Schemes which threaten national security are more heavily penalized than those cases which involve small scale theft, under US Code. While many identity theft cases are handled as federal offenses, the magnitude of the penalties varies greatly from one conviction to another. Fines, imprisonment, reparation costs, and loss of certain rights are some of the consequences which may follow a federal identity theft conviction.
If an offense involves the production or transfer of a US-issued document of identification or if the document is a counterfeit of such a document, or if the alleged offender possesses the equipment necessary to produce such documents, they may be subject to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment in addition to applicable fines. The same penalty applies to anyone who is found guilty of identity theft by which the offender fraudulently accrues a minimum of $1,000 in currency, goods, or services over the course of one year.
The term of imprisonment increases to a maximum of 20 years in cases which involve identity theft for the purpose of drug trafficking, if the offense occurs in relation to a violent crime, or in a case of a subsequent identity theft conviction.
If a case of identity theft is determined to be a means to commit or aid in terrorism, whether international or domestic, the term of imprisonment is increased to a maximum of 30 years.
An experienced DC federal identity theft attorney is well-acquainted with the federal court system and with the effective defense strategies necessary to challenge the prosecution in cases of identity theft and other federal white collar crimes. The penalties upon conviction are harsh and vary from case to case.
To understand more about the specific penalties associated with a particular charge, and how to take the steps necessary to begin devising a rigorous defense plan, contact one of our experienced DC federal identity theft lawyers to discuss your personal case in a free and confidential consultation.