Identity theft may be one of the most well-known white-collar crimes committed in the modern era. And for most people, identity theft generally concerns the theft of a Social Security number or credit card number for use to defraud an individual of their savings or simply make online purchases.

While the crime of identity theft does encompass these ideas, there are a variety of other actions for which an individual may face similar charges. And in the event that you face identity theft charges, you should consult an attorney immediately to understand the scope of the charges, as well as what future course of action is advisable.

What exactly is identity theft?

While an individual may be charged with identity theft upon making fraudulent purchases using the funds of another, this is not the only way in which it may happen.

Title 2C:21-17 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice provides that an individual will be guilty of committing identity theft if he or she: 

  • impersonated another or assumed “a false identity” and committed “an act in such assumed character of false identity”;
  • pretended to be a “representative of some person or organization” and did “an act in such pretended capacity”;
  • impersonated another, assumed a false identity or made “a false or misleading statement regarding the identity of any person”; or
  • obtained any personal “identifying information pertaining to another person” and used that information “in order to…represent himself as another person.”

Inside of these guidelines, it also specifically states that an individual can be considered guilty of identity theft if he or she took any one of these actions for the benefit of him- or herself, to defraud or injure another, or simply to avoid payment for prior services.

What are the penalties for identity theft?

Depending on the amount of the damages, the convicted may face penalties of varying weight and duration. The deprival of an amount less than $500 is considered a fourth-degree crime, which could carry a jail term of up to 18 months. Subsequently, an act of identity theft that defrauds another of more than $75,000 is considered a second-degree crime, which could lead to a prison sentence of between five and 10 years.

Contact an Identity Theft Attorney Today

Being convicted on identity theft charges could land you in prison for years, impose significant fines and could leave you with an unwanted criminal history. A legal professional can help you avoid this entirely by advocating on your behalf. An identity theft attorney in New Jersey can point to evidence that you have been falsely accused of this crime or utilize other defenses, depending on the circumstances.

If you have been charged with identity theft in New Jersey, it is advisable to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Dash Farrow LLP as soon as you can. We can help craft a strategy that is specific to your case and can help guide you through this difficult time. Please call us today at 856-235-8300.