Identity theft is the taking of somebody else’s personal identifying information such as their Social Security number or date of birth to obtain money directly, or to apply for credit cards and other financial instruments. Additionally, identity theft may be when an individual uses bona fide credentials to unlawfully pretend to be someone else for their own personal gain. If you have been charged with this type of fraud, it is essential to contact a Mecklenburg County identity theft lawyer to protect your rights and start building a strong criminal defense.
When a person hires a seasoned criminal defense lawyer, they hire someone with experience defending against the charges they are facing, enabling them to achieve the best possible result. A local attorney is likely experienced in defending identity theft charges in Mecklenburg County, potentially giving you a leg up at trial.
Common offenses involving identity theft include credit card theft, credit card fraud, and sometimes forgery. All these crimes are related to misrepresenting who a person is for financial gain. While different amounts of money involved in the fraud could lead to enhanced sentences, as long as an individual has unlawfully used another person’s identity, they have committed identity theft and they will be investigated.
Identity theft gets discovered in most cases by the person who was stolen from. They often call their credit card company or bank to verify or dispute suspicious charges. From there, the company or bank will usually attempt to investigate the matter on their own, or pass on the information to law enforcement. Identity theft is primarily investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Identity theft is often a felony charge meaning that conviction carries the weight of incarceration and potentially large fines. The lowest form of fraud is a class one misdemeanor carrying fines and up to one year in prison. However, any identity theft leading to over $500 dollars stolen can garner up to five years in prison. If the intent was to sell people’s personal information, the crime is considered a class five felony carrying up to ten years in prison, and if more than 50 identities were stolen, that penalty could rise to ten years in prison.
If the charges lead to a felony conviction, there are many other long-term consequences that could follow the defendant for the rest of their lives. Felons forfeit their right to be on a jury, vote, and own a firearm. They may also have difficulties finding employment, securing loans, or renting property.
A defendant’s attorney could advise them on whether or not to take a plea deal in an identity theft case. Depending on the specifics of the case, a plea deal may be the best option for mitigating the consequences of this crime. In other cases, it may be more beneficial to force the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt at trial.
When contacting an attorney, a person charged with identity theft should bring with them all information relevant to the charge including all contact with law enforcement. If you are facing fraud charges in Mecklenburg County, an identity theft lawyer could potentially help you avoid incarceration. Call as soon as you can to start work on your case.
Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.