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Identity Theft

Identity theft refers to the using of another person's identity (such as name, social security number or credit card number) without that person's consent. This is typically done to commit fraud or steal. With the rise of identity theft over the internet, California courts are imposing harsher penalties.

Penalties may be increased if a person:

  • Has a previous conviction for an identity theft violation; or
  • Acquires or retains the personal identifying information of ten or more persons
  • Obtains personal identifying information of another person and uses that information without
    the consent of that person for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain or attempt to obtain credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information
  • With intent to defraud, sells, transfers, or conveys the personal identifying information of
    another person; or with actual knowledge that the personal identifying information of a specific person will be used fraudulently, sells, transfers, or conveys that information.

Identity theft can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the offense. As a misdemeanor, identity theft is punishable by up to one year in county jail  and/or a fine of up to $1000. It may also be punishable as a felony by imprisonment in the state  prison for a term of 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison, and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If you have been charged or are under investigation for identity theft, you should seek legal counsel right away.  Experienced attorneys at Jones Law can help.