What is considered identity fraud in Massachusetts?
There are a number of different crimes considered “identity fraud” in Massachusetts. These crimes contain a number of elements and there can be many ways to defend against charges of identity fraud. Posing as another person is not, by itself, identity fraud. The crime of identity fraud is triggered if someone poses as another person to get something of value (money, a credit card, goods or services) or poses as another person to harass someone. Also, just taking someone’s personal information with the intent to use that information to get something of value or to harass someone is considered a violation of the identity fraud statute. For example, if someone takes the personal information of another person and plans on using that information to fraudulently apply for a credit card, even if they never actually get the credit card, that person can be guilty of identity fraud.
Many acts that people think of as being “identity fraud” can actually result in charges of identity fraud and other crimes as well. Using someone else’s identifying information to obtain and use a credit card can be identity fraud, credit card fraud, and larceny. Using someone else’s identity to write and cash a check can be identity fraud, forgery, uttering, and larceny. It is important to have lawyers experienced with defending identity fraud and other white-collar crimes to defend these kinds of cases.
What types of identity fraud are there?
- Posing as another person to get something of value
- Posing as another person to harass someone (the person whose information was used, or another person)
- Obtaining the personal information of another person with the intent to use it to get something of value
- Obtaining the personal information of another person with the intent to use it to harass someone
- Obtaining the personal information of another person so that someone else can use it to get something of value
- Obtaining the personal information of another person so that someone else can harass someone
What happens if I am arrested for identity fraud?
Police officers are specifically allowed to arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe that they have committed identity fraud. If you are arrested, charged, or under investigation, it is important that you contact experienced and aggressive defense attorneys right away. Acting quickly in these types of cases can be extremely important. Allegations of identity fraud are taken very seriously by the Police and District Attorney’s Offices. It is vital that the defense take these allegations just as seriously, and begins working on your case right away.
What types of criminal defenses are there for identity fraud?
Many defense attorneys and prosecutors are unfamiliar with the technicalities involved in charging and proving identity fraud (as well as the related crimes of larceny, credit card fraud, forgery, uttering, and others). There are legal requirements as to how credit card statements and other business records need to be handled to be admissible in court, and other ways that these types of charges can be aggressively defended against.
It may be the case that the there was never any intent to commit a fraud. Also, there are cases where the “victim” permits the defendant to use their personal information, and then later claims that it was identity fraud. Every case of identity fraud is unique and may have many defenses that can be used to fight the case.
What are the penalties?
If you are found guilty of identity fraud, you can be sent to jail for up to 2 ½ years. You can also be fined $5,000 and be forced to pay full restitution for any credit problems or debts suffered by the victim of the fraud.
Why you should hire a fraud defense attorney:
Identity Fraud is taken very seriously by police, prosecutors, and courts. Experienced fraud lawyers will be able to raise a number of defenses in fraud cases that can result in a dismissal or a finding of not guilty. Cases of identity fraud can involve numerous witnesses, business records, documents, and motions. Our Attorneys have handled identity fraud cases for the District Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office and know this area of the law inside and out. Our lawyers have successfully fought these charges for our clients, and have the experience to put forth the best defense if you have been charged with identity fraud. Call today for a free consultation.