In a world where nearly all interactions and transactions occur online, there are countless opportunities for personal information to be compromised. As a result, identity theft is one of the most common forms of criminal activity. The Simmrin Law Group team has taken on some of the most challenging identity theft cases and provided clients with a defense tailored specifically for their unique situations.
Those needing a Pasadena identity theft lawyer turn to the Simmrin Law Group. Despite the widespread amount of identity theft that occurs daily, monthly, and yearly, each one of these cases is unique. Those accused of identity theft can find themselves in a difficult situation, especially if charges are brought against them at a local, state, and federal level.
They can face thousands of dollars of fines and numerous years in jail.
What Is Identity Theft in California?
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data shows more than 130,000 identity theft cases in California annually. This means nearly 340 identity theft cases for every 100,000 people, accounting for almost $821 million in yearly losses for California.
California Penal Code §530.5 PC and California Penal Code §473 PC are the statutes that regulate identity theft. Depending on various factors, prosecutors can use these statutes to charge a defendant with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Regardless of these variables, in California, identity theft is when one person uses another person’s personal information for financial gain. This can be through purchases, loans, forgery, or other methods.
For a free legal consultation with a identity theft lawyer serving Pasadena, call (310) 896-2723
What Types of Identity Theft Does California Criminalize?
California criminalizes several types of identity theft, some of which include the following:
- Using someone else’s credit card information to buy items
- Applying for a credit card, mortgage, or loan using another person’s identity
- Using another person’s email account to impersonate them
- Collecting unemployment or welfare with another individual’s personal information
It is worth noting that simply having someone else’s personal information is not defined as identity theft. Therefore, the prosecuting attorney must prove intent. They must show that the person who came into possession of this information did so to use it illegally and with fraudulent purposes in mind.
Pasadena Identity Theft Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
What Personal Information Is Used in Identity Theft?
Many types of personal information can be used in identity theft. Names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, birthdays, and a school the person graduated from can all be used for identity theft.
Those accused of identity theft who came into possession of another individual’s personal information and whether they knowingly used it for financial gain is something they should discuss with an identity theft lawyer in Pasadena right away.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Identity Theft Charges?
Those accused of identity theft charges are not without options. There are several legal defenses for them to consider, including those noted below.
- False Accusation: if someone is accused of identity theft by opening another person’s mail, they might be able to prove that the United States Postal Service delivered the wrong mail to their address and unknowingly opened it. As a result, they came into possession of another individual’s personal information, however, it was not done intentionally or with unlawful purposes in mind.
- Consent: if the person accused of identity theft can prove that the accuser gave them the approval to use their identity, this can help build a more robust defense. After all, a lack of consent must be established to prove identity theft.
- Similar Identity: if the person accused of identity theft has extremely similar personal information to that of the other individual (e.g., the same first and last name but a different middle initial), a financial institution may accidentally send the information to the wrong person. This is more inclined to happen to people with common first and last names, and it cannot be the basis for a criminal offense.
- A Lack of Fraudulent Intent: while stealing another individual’s personal information may be a crime, if it cannot be proven that it was stolen for financial gain, then an identity theft case against the accused is much harder to build.
These are just a few examples of defenses for identity theft charges to consider. Many others can be analyzed and potentially applied, but it takes a skilled attorney to objectively look at the identity theft situation in question and all the factors at play. The Simmrin Law Group works with those wanting a Pasadena identity theft attorney and offers them the guidance they need to receive the justice they deserve.
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What Are the Penalties for California Identity Theft?
The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 amended the federal criminal code “to make it unlawful for anyone to knowingly transfer or use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or otherwise promote, carry on, or facilitate any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law or a felony under State or local law.” The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) may get involved if the alleged criminal behavior occurred across multiple states or if it concerns a significant amount of money or personal information.
A person’s criminal history significantly influences whether they will be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor identity theft, the guilty party could face a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If, on the other hand, they are convicted of a felony identity theft, the jail time could be up to three years, and the fine could go as high as $10,000.
Contact the Simmrin Law Group for an Identity Theft Attorney in Pasadena
The attorneys at Simmrin Law Group can help you with your case to build the best defense strategy possible if you have been accused of identity theft. Those needing a Pasadena identity theft lawyer turn to us because of our talent, knowledge, and experience. Reach out to our attorneys today.