Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Since 2002, Attorney Paul M. King has served as trusted defense counsel, and has helped numerous clients wrongly accused of identity theft get their charges reduced or dismissed. I provide experienced representation to criminal defendants in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, , and Maine.

What Constitutes Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a new area of law that Congress only began to address in the late 1990s. Under the Federal Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, it is unlawful to knowingly use or transfer any name, number, or other identifying information with the intent to commit or aid unlawful activity. Identity theft includes a wide spectrum of crimes, including:

  • Forgery
  • Postal fraud
  • Check fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Terrorist activity
  • Credit card fraud
  • Immigration fraud
  • Use of false identity
  • Social security fraud
  • Insurance claim fraud
  • Larceny by posing as another
  • Theft to obtain another’s identity

While most states have passed their own legislation, these laws still fail to consistently define identity theft, using broad language that gives prosecutors wide discretion to prove their case. These vague new statutes, coupled with public concern regarding alleged threats to national security, allow government officials full power to charge and convict individuals, sometimes with little respect for due process.

Use of Personally Identifiable Information

The vast amount of publicly available information makes it easy for others to obtain personal information. The government itself has vastly increased the number of employees with security clearance, allowing various parties to mine and track our information. Stealing this data to obtain money, goods, or services may constitute identity theft. Identity theft often affects:

  • Insurance companies
  • Financial institutions
  • Individual consumers
  • Employment agencies
  • Government programs
  • Computer, software data
  • Businesses, corporations
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Private relief organizations
  • Intellectual property owners
  • Medical, health care providers

The most common purpose of identity theft is to commit wire fraud or facilitate transfers of money.

Massachusetts Identity Theft Law

Massachusetts General Laws prohibit the use of identity fraud to obtain another person’s personal information. In order to prove the crime, the prosecution must show that the perpetrator intentionally obtained the victim’s personal information without consent in order to secure something of value or to harass the individual.

Classified as a crime of property, this form of larceny is a misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property was less than $250, and a felony if it was more. If the theft involved a serious risk of bodily injury, as in some robberies, or violated federal laws, as in wire fraud and white collar crimes, the court may impose a greater prison sentence and fines.

Immediately Fight Identity Theft and Fraud Charges

It is crucial to secure representation quickly to challenge any state or federal identity theft charges.  Once the District or police  become involved, the stakes become greater.

If you or someone you know has been accused of identity theft, please call me to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.  Once I learn about your matter, I can explain how I can help.

How Can I Help?