Identity fraud and identity theft are quickly growing crimes in Pennsylvania and around the country. These crimes occur whenever a person unlawfully acquires another person's identity through deceptive or fraudulent means and uses it for their own gain.
Those who commit identity theftsteal personal identification information, including a person's name, social security number, credit card and banking accounts, driver's license information and other pertinent data. They will then use this information to apply for loans, make purchases or obtain employment. In some cases, identity thieves will commit a crime and run up large charges in the name of the stolen identity.
Prior to 1998, when Congress passed new laws making identity theft a federal offense, identity thieves were not charged for their crimes. For instance, one convicted individual stole a victim's identity and used it to incur a substantial amount of goods. They then told the victim he was going to keep using his identity, flaunting the fact that there were no laws to oppose identity theft during that time. About four years later, the criminal was incarcerated briefly for a minor offense and was not obligated to compensate his victim for his crimes.
Due to the complexities involved in identity fraud and identity theft crimes and the serious penalties a defendant faces in lieu of those charges, a local attorney who is experienced in Internet fraud may be able to help build a strong defense for a person facing federal charges for these crimes. However, if the evidence in the case appears overwhelming, the attorney may be able to arrange a plea bargain with the prosecution in an effort to lessen the penalties and reduce the sentence.