With Black Friday coming up, most people will be scouring the market for great deals to start their holiday shopping. However, many people also feel an increase in financial pressure around this time of the year. When money becomes an unbearable stress, people can make poor judgment calls. Therefore, identity theft is a major concern around Black Friday and the holidays.
Identity theft is the act of willfully taking and misusing the personal information of another person. For Black Friday purposes, identity theft would likely involve obtaining money illegally by pretending to be the proper owner of a check or credit card and spending it on merchandise.
Consequences of identity theft depend on the allegation, whether the defendant is being charged with a misdemeanor or felony, whether the alleged crime is under state or federal jurisdiction and the defendant’s prior offenses. Common cases of identity theft include:
Credit card fraud. Credit card fraud could include the possession or use of another person’s credit card or credit card information without their authorization. This type of credit card fraud could result in a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
However, under California law, a defendant will be charged for grand theft if $950 or more is spent illegally within a six-month period. If charged with grand theft, a defendant could be sentenced to up to three years in jail, probation and up to $10,000 in fines.
Check fraud. In respect to Black Friday shopping, the possession or use of someone else’s check without their permission is check fraud. Potential consequences could include jail time and a fine. Like credit card fraud, more than $950 in spending is considered grand theft.
Internet fraud. Making an online purchase with another person’s credit card information without their permission or knowledge is a form of identity theft. However, rather than be a form of credit card fraud, a defendant could be charged with internet fraud. Either way, a defendant could see jail time, fines and probation.
Many internet crimes can fall under federal jurisdiction. Under federal law, internet fraud could result in up to 20 years in prison. Identity theft could result in up to 30 years in prison.
White-collar crimes concerning identity theft can be confusing due to the fact that a situation could fall under multiple California laws or under federal jurisdiction. If you know you are being investigated for a white-collar crime, we recommend that you contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced defense attorney could use pretrial measures to reduce your chances of receiving serious penalties.
The Law Offices of Richard Wingerden has more than 20 years of experience defending individuals against white-collar crime allegations. Contact our office today at (408) 564-5870 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.