In the digital age, it has become increasingly common for a person to a become victim of identity theft. The phrase identity theft typically refers to a person's unauthorized use of another party's identity, often for credit or other financial reasons.
Identity theft is both a criminal offense under both state and federal law in Florida and a conviction in either court can have serious penalties.
Some people may be accused of this crime as the result of honest misunderstandings in which they performed certain transactions with that they thought was the permission of the alleged victims.Lawyer for Identity Theft Arrests in Broward County, FL
If you think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for an alleged identity theft offense in South Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel before speaking to authorities.
The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients accused of white-collar crimes in Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Cooper City, and many other nearby areas in Broward County.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most desirable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences.
Call (954) 524-4474 today to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.
Fort Lauderdale Identity Theft Information Center
- How are identity theft crimes punishable under Florida state law?
- What are the federal penalties for identity theft crimes?
- Where can I learn more about identity theft in Broward County?
Florida's state law relating to identity theft crimes is established under Florida Statute § 817.568. Fraudulent use of personal identification information offenses listed under Florida Statute § 817.568(2) include the following crimes which involve an alleged offender willfully and without authorization fraudulently using personal identification information concerning a person without first obtaining that person’s consent:
- Pecuniary benefit, value of the services received, payment sought to be avoided, or amount of the injury or fraud perpetrated is less than $5,000 and the alleged offender fraudulently uses the personal identification information of fewer than 10 individuals — Third-degree felony punishable by to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000;
- Pecuniary benefit, value of the services received, payment sought to be avoided, or amount of the injury or fraud perpetrated is $5,000 or more or the alleged offender fraudulently uses the personal identification information of 10 or more individuals, but fewer than 20 individuals — Second-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of three years up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000;
- Pecuniary benefit, value of the services received, payment sought to be avoided, or amount of the injury or fraud perpetrated is $50,000 or more or if the person fraudulently uses the personal identification information of 20 or more individuals, but fewer than 30 individuals — First-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of five years up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000; or
- Pecuniary benefit, value of the services received, payment sought to be avoided, or amount of the injury or fraud perpetrated is $100,000 or more or if the person fraudulently uses the personal identification information of more than 30 individuals — First-degree felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Florida Statute § 817.5685 also establishes the offense of unlawful possession of the personal identification information of another person. If an alleged offender possesses the personal identification information of four or fewer persons, this crime is a first-degree misdemeanor.
A First-degree misdemeanor charge for identity theft is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Identify theft becomes a third-degree felony, however, if he or she possesses the personal identification information of five or more persons.
When the United States Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act in 1998, it created the federal offense of identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7). That statute prohibits knowingly transferring, possessing, or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet, or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or a felony under any applicable state or local law.
Other offenses included under this statute (which can also be referred to as identity fraud) include:
- knowingly and without lawful authority producing an identification document, authentication feature, or a false identification document;
- knowingly transfers an identification document, authentication feature, or a false identification document knowing that such document or feature was stolen or produced without lawful authority;
- knowingly possessing with intent to use unlawfully or transfer unlawfully five or more identification documents (other than those issued lawfully for the use of the possessor), authentication features, or false identification documents;
- knowingly possessing an identification document (other than one issued lawfully for the use of the possessor), authentication feature, or a false identification document, with the intent such document or feature be used to defraud the United States;
- knowingly producing, transferring, or possessing a document-making implement or authentication feature with the intent such document-making implement or authentication feature will be used in the production of a false identification document or another document-making implement or authentication feature which will be so used;
- knowingly possessing an identification document or authentication feature that is or appears to be an identification document or authentication feature of the United States or a sponsoring entity of an event designated as a special event of national significance which is stolen or produced without lawful authority knowing that such document or feature was stolen or produced without such authority; and
- knowingly trafficking in false or actual authentication features for use in false identification documents, document-making implements, or means of identification.
Most federal identity theft crimes are punishable by significant fines and up to 15 years in prison. If an alleged offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, in connection with a crime of violence, or after a prior conviction, the crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
When an alleged offense is committed to facilitate an act of domestic terrorism or an act of international terrorism, a conviction is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Florida Attorney General | Identity Theft Victim Kit — Visit this section of the Florida Attorney General's website to find a step-by-step guide for what to do if you were the victim of identity theft. The website provides information about how to report the incident to the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus, contact your bank or financial institution, and report the incident to law enforcement. You can also learn how to minimize your risk of becoming an identity theft victim.
Identity Theft Recovery Steps | IdentityTheft.gov — IdentityTheft.gov is a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website that helps guide victims through the recovery process. You can use this website to report identity theft, create a personal recovery plan, and learn more about your rights. You can also find additional information about identity theft crimes on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) websites.
Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation in Broward County for identity theft? You should exercise your right to remain silent until you are able to contact The Hoffman Firm.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Evan A. Hoffman represents individuals in numerous communities throughout South Florida, such as Margate, Dania Beach, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and many others. You can have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.